Out of Sweden comes new jazz sounds from guitarist Anders Nilsson's group Aorta, a group that glances briefly back at the late '60s and '70s, then forges ahead, showing some possible directions for the music to go if it is to remain vital. Aorta probably won't be doing a week at the Vanguard any time soon, but if there's any music that can even remotely be called jazz and has any chance of capturing the ears of teens and twenty-somethings (the holy grail in music sales), this is it.
Bassist and composer Anders Jormin has been one of the more restless and adventurous musical talents on the ECM roster. He's worked with numerous jazz talents from his long associations with Bobo Stenson, Charles Lloyd, and Tomasz Stanko, and from his composing for brass ensemble. This project is off the map. Commissioned to write new sacred music for premiere in the cathedral in Västerås, Switzerland, he composed a series of works in which he used the existing poems of Swedish writers like Harry Martinson, Johannes Ederfelt, Lotta Olsson-Anderberg, and the great Pär Lagerkvist, as well as those of William Blake.
Goodbye is one of, if not the most expansive and diverse collections pianist Bobo Stenson has ever released. This is his first ECM release in five years. Paul Motian takes over the drum chair vacated by Jon Christensen, and his shimmering, deep listening and subtlety add to the excellence and sheer quiet beauty of this recording. Goodbye is more a recording of songs than jazz pieces – at least in a traditional sense. This trio doesn't swing, they play, they slowly dance through the lyric pieces found here.
Bassist Anders Jormin steps out with one of his projects, with an ensemble formed for the Swedish Jazz Celebration 2010. Anders sets his own lyrics – written in ancient Latin – and poetry of Denmark’s Pia Tafdrup for singers Mariam Wallentin and Erika Angell. Anders: “Latin seems to carry an almost magic ability to embrace and express whatever humanity has needed to communicate. The sense of eternity and mystery of this ancient language joined with the instantaneous presence and creativity of true improvisers became the inspiring framework in which the distinctive compositions came alive.” Improvisers on hand are the great Swedish free sax player Fredrik Ljungkvist and Jormin’s highly expressive partner from the Bobo Stenson Trio, drummer Jon Fält.