Anders Jormin: Pasado En Claro

Swedish bassist turns texts from the Far East, the Renaissance, Mexico and Sweden into sound, touching on jazz in moments of swing


A surpassing bassist, Jormin is best known for his longstanding work in the Bobo Stenson Trio. But Jormin is also a striking composer, with many a piece in that trio’s book. He has long shown a refreshing capacity to recast the relations of folk forms and jazz, poetic text, improvisation and instrumentation.

Pasado En Claro is compelling evidence of the breadth and depth of Jormin’s poetics, drawing upon texts from, e.g., the Far East, the Renaissance and modern Mexican and Swedish culture (all translated into English in the sleeve booklet). The Stenson Trio’s Jon Fält – a drummer and percussionist of special sensitivity and subtlety – works superbly here with Lena Willemark (v, vn, vla) and Karin Nakagawa (25-string koto). Willemark was on Jormin’s In Winds, In Light of 2003 and appeared with Nakagawa on Jormin’s 2015 trio release Trees Of Light, also on ECM.

Willemark – who contributes five texts here – says of her earlier work with Ale Möller, in the folk-inflected Nordan project, that “[…] we wanted to allow more air into the music, make more room for improvisation”. It’s an apt image for what happens on Pasado – where the opening Mist Of The River commences with mysterious koto echoes of Tony Scott’s Music For Zen Meditation before opening out into a poised yet also overtly swinging groove.

The tone is thus set for a magical session where, whether arco or pizzicato, Jormin’s figures both underpin and open up matters while Fält shades and colours, together with Nakagawa, and Willemark’s vocals take us “upward / into the depths” as the late Tomas Tranströmer (whose poetry is treated here) once had it.

Hear especially the spacious meditation that is Glowworm, the further swing of Ramona Elena, and Woman Of The Long Ice, a dramatic and variegated piece which at times brought to mind the June Tabor of the majestic Across The Wide Ocean, from her Ashore of 2011. And I can’t think of much higher praise than that.

Mist Of The River; Blue Lamp; Ramona Elena; The Woman Of The Long Ice; Wedding Polska; Kingdom Of Coldness; Angels; Petrarca; Pasado En Claro; Glowworm; Returning Wave (58.01)
Jormin (b); Lena Willemark (v, vn, vla); Karin Nakagawa (25-string koto); Jon Fält (d, pc). Gothenburg, December 2021.
ECM 487 5945