Scandinavian pianist Bobo Stenson has recorded on numerous solo & band efforts for ECM Records since the early 1970s, but it's been his trio (which currently includes double bassist Anders Jormin and drummer Jon Falt) that has garnered him the most attention through the years. Their latest release Indicum offers a wide variety of original tunes and renditions of both jazz & classical favorites, performed with the same sense of free-jazz and improvisation that Stenson and his trio have always been noted for.
While the covers of Bill Evans' "Your Story" and George Russell's "Event VI" are well done, it's the original pieces here that are worth the price of admission. The enticing yin/yang of the upbeat "Indikon" and the more sedate "Indicum" offers up a nice contrast, while Jormin's ominous bass lines permeate the dark "Indigo". In fact, the Jormin penned "December" might be one of the most hauntingly beautiful songs here, as Stenson's poignant melody lines are supported by yearning bass and Falt's gentle stick work. Unfortunately the second half of the CD doesn't quite match up to the strong first half, with too many of the songs being a bit laid back and lacking the excitement and mysterious quality of some of the earlier songs. In saying that though, the trio's take on the traditional Norwegian piece "Ave Maria" is quite nice, and the other Jomin original, "Sol", is a chilling slice of minimalistic avant-garde jazz.
Indicum is a solid enough affair, though for my tastes there's not quite enough going on here consistently throughout the CD to really hold my attention. If you don't mind a more minimalistic approach to modern & traditional jazz, give this one a try.
1) Your Story
7) La Peregrinacion
8) Event VI
9) Ave Maria
10) Tit er jeg glad
12) Ubi Caritas