All About Jazz (USA)
One of the major musical events of 2009 was the international breakthrough of Italian pianist Stefano Bollani's Danish trio with bassist Jesper Bodilsen and drummer Morten Lund. The release of Stone in the Water (ECM, 2009) underlined Bodilsen's unlimited potential, who not only played meticulously, but also contributed two of the album's most beautiful compositions, "Orvieto" and "Edith."
On Short Stories For Dreamers, released on the Danish Stunt label, Bodilsen is on the top of the bill, but the album is far from a shallow display of instrumental virtuosity. Instead, it carefully constructs melodic motives that evolve into aural stories that
captivate the ear with their sense of poetry and space. Part of the success of the album is due to its unusual lineup, featuring guitarist Ulf Wakenius, trumpeter Peter Asplund and vibraphonist Severi Pyysalo. Without the rhythmic pulse of the drums, they weave a finely textured carpet of sound where each melodic detail comes out with clarity.
"Caetano," named after Brazilian guitarist Caetano Veloso, immediately sets the mild melancholic tone for the album, with Bodilsen and Wakenius playing a duet, recalling both the open landscapes of the Nordic countries and an empty beach in Brazil. In fact, each composition is given its own pictorial interpretation through the inclusion of the stunning photographs of Tove Kurtzweil.
While Bodilsen contributes five of the album's nine compositions, there is also room for compositions by Wakenius, Henry Mancini and Bruno Martino. Martino's epic "Estate" is especially a revelation, wrapped as it is in Asplund's hushed brass sounds and in the warm wood of Bodilsen's bass. Talking of the intention of record, Bodilsen writes in the liner notes: "The keywords were simplicity and space: An opportunity for each musician to create a musical story in his own personal voice."
Short Stories For Dreamers brings the personal narratives of the participants into a greater whole, creating a unique work of art. It is to be hoped that the success of Bollani's Danish trio will create an effect of synergy and thus lead listeners to this gem of a record.