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ANDERS JORMIN – PASADO EN CLARO     ECM2761

The creative partnership of Anders Jormin and singer/violinist/violist Lena Willemark was first given exposure on ECM in 2004 with the album In Winds, In Light. In 2015 the bassist and the folk singer-violinist introduced a new project with koto player Karin Nakagawa on Trees of Light. Now, with the addition of drummer Jon Fält, Anders’s long time comrade in the Bobo Stenson Trio, the group has expanded its improvisational range. Many creative ideas are explored on Pasado en claro, emerging from its juxtaposition of poetry and music. Jormin casts his net wide bringing together texts from ancient Chinese and Japanese sources with contemporary Scandinavian poetry, also setting words by Mexican writer Octavio Paz and by Petrarch, lyric poet of Renaissance Italy. The resourceful Willemark sings this cross section of world verse and adds her own songs to the programme.

Anders Jormin: “When each musician´s unique musical dialect, in curiosity and with open listening ears, blends and communicates, something stronger than our four individual voices may awake. Something happens that in advance is not decided or controlled.” The outcome: “carefully crystallized and heartfelt music”.

The creative partnership of bassist Anders Jormin and singer/violinist/violist Lena Willemark has brought forth special music over the last two decades.  Near the beginning of their association, first given exposure in 2004 with the album In Winds, In Light,  Jormin observed, “How Lena Willemark manages to preserve her local musical dialect and at the same time be so expressive, so personal, receptive and contemporary is a tremendous inspiration not only for me.”  Willemark, raised in the traditional music milieu of Sweden’s Älvdalen region had already demonstrated a capacity to go beyond the frontiers of ‘folk’ in her ECM recordings with Ale Möller, including Nordan and Agram. The work with Anders Jormin became a logical next step.
 
After a productive collaboration on Jormin’s oratorio Between Always and Never, Anders and Lena introduced a new project, joined by Japanese koto player Karin Nakagawa on the 2015 ECM album Trees of Light. US magazine Stereophile praised its “music of bracing originality, strength, grace, darkness, light, gravitas, wit, and utter attentiveness to each other’s silences and sounds”.
 
Now, with the addition of drummer Jon Fält, Anders’s long time comrade in the Bobo Stenson Trio, the group has expanded its improvisational range. Many creative ideas are explored on Pasado en claro, emerging from its juxtaposition of sung poetry and musical interaction.  Jormin casts his net wide, bringing together texts from ancient Chinese and Japanese sources with contemporary Scandinavian poetry, also setting words by Mexican writer Octavio Paz and by Petrarch, lyric poet of Renaissance Italy.
 
The resourceful Willemark sings this cross section of world verse and adds her own songs to the programme.  For all its broad scope, however, the music retains its own group logic through its combining of voice, fiddle, koto, bass and percussion.  The sparse, archaic sounds of the koto, in particular, seem to open up new spaces in which collective creativity can flower. As Anders Jormin explains it: “When each musician’s unique musical dialect, in curiosity and with open listening ears, blends and communicates, something stronger than our four individual voices may awake. Something happens that in advance is not decided or controlled.” The outcome: “carefully crystallized and heartfelt music”.

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Anders Jormin, born in Jönköping, Sweden, has recorded prolifically for ECM since the early 1990s. In addition to his albums as a leader for the label – Xieyi, In winds, in light, Ad Lucem, Trees of Light – he has appeared on albums with the Bobo Stenson Trio, including Reflections, War Orphans, Serenity, Cantando, Goodbye, Indicum and Contra la Indecisión (a new Stenson Trio album, Sphere, is in preparation).  Jormin, furthermore, can be heard on albums with Charles Lloyd, Tomasz Stanko, Don Cherry, Sinekka Langeland, Jon Balke, Marilyn Mazur, and Ferenc Snétberger.  Through all these endeavours,his improvisational imagination and profound feeling for melody are in evidence. 
 
Lena Willemark, born in the Swedish village of Evertsberg,  has steadily been expanding her range over the years, from folk through jazz to freer improvising – always keeping a focus on the concept of music as a storyteller’s art.  The poems and song lyrics she gives voice to here share a vividness of imagery. As for instance when Lena’s own “The Woman of the Long Ice”  precedes Tomas Tranströmer’s “Kingdom of Coldness”, the latter with its snapshots of “jingling tambourines of ice” and “high tension lines/taut in cold’s brittle kingdom/north of all music.”
 
 Karin Nakagawa, born in Tokyo, began playing piano at 3, and took up the highly specialized 25-string koto at 12. Two years later she began giving concerts of her own compositions.  Today she is recognized for her improvisational versatility  and her ability to integrate the essence of her sound, with its roots in ancient Japanese tradition, in the most diverse contemporary contexts.
 
Jon Fält, born in Gävle, Sweden, first gained international attention when he joined Bobo Stenson and Anders Jormin in time for the album Cantando (2007) taking over a role previously addressed by two of jazz’s finest  drummers – Jon Christensen and Paul Motian.  Fält impressed  immediately with his own sinuous approach to rhythm and the multiple ways in which he can provide running percussive commentary on the musical action.
 
Pasado en claro was recorded in Studio Epidemin in Gothenburg in December 2021.
 
The quartet of Anders Jormin, Lena Willemark, Karin Nakagawa and Jon Fält plays concerts in Sweden, Denmark and Norway in February 2023.

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