Cantando continues Stenson's twenty-year relationship with Anders Jormin. A virtuosic player with remarkable extended techniques, his relationship with Stenson has always been that of an equal—his singing double-bass as much a factor in defining the trio's unique complexion as Stenson's own ability to bring unerring lyricism to even the most open-ended context. Jormin has also been responsible for introducing compelling material, including that of Cuban singer/composer Silvio Rodriguez, whose "Olivia" opens Cantando with the perfect combination of melodic resonance and liberal interpretation.
Aerosmith prove that a band can be inspired by the blues and play the blues without ever feeling like a blues band. Then again, the nature of the blues is that every musician who plays it stamps his or her own identity on a set of familiar chord changes and songs. While it might not feel like the blues, Aerosmith do indeed stamp their identity on each track on their long-promised blues album, the atrociously named Honkin' on Bobo. Other rockers who have cut full-length blues albums have always played the music with a kind of scholarly reverence, taking care to pay tribute to their influences. Not Aerosmith. They turn up the amps and cut loose, playing slick and sleazy blooze-rock that feels indebted to second-generation blues-rock instead of blues forefathers.
The great Swedish trio of Bobo Stenson takes a stand against indecision in a decisively beautiful new album. As ever, the trio draws upon a wide range of source materials. A yearning title song by Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez, Bartók’s adaptation of a Slovak folk song, a piece from Mompou’s Cançons I Danses collection, and Erik Satie’s Elégie are integrated into the programme, alongside original compositions by Stenson and Anders Jormin and group improvising. So strong is the group’s character and the musical identity of each of its members that the integration of this material always feels organic and logical. Stenson’s lyrical touch, Jormin’s folk-flavoured arco bass and Jon Fält’s flickering, textural drumming are all well-displayed on Contra la indecision, the trio’s first new recording in six years. Produced by Manfred Eicher, the album was recorded at Lugano’s Auditorio Stelio Molo RSI studio in May 2017.