A Gorgeous Italo-Scandinavian Trio – Stefano Bollani’s Stone In the Water

You’ll probably have noticed by now my obsession with piano trios in Jazz.

The piano trio form in Jazz clearly comes from the US. I’ve already written about the 3 giants, Keith Jarrett, see here and here, Oscar Peterson, see here, and the obvious Bill Evans (see here).

However, these days many of my favorite trios seem to be European.

Three hotspots emerge:

  • Germany: I’ve written about Triosence (see here), Edgar Knecht (see here), and Michael Wollny (see here), more to come
  • Scandinavia: The obvious Esbjörn Svensson Trio, but also Helge Lien (see here) and several others I yet have to write about
  • And finally, Italy: Giovanni Mirabassi (see here) (although he mainly lives in Paris now), and the Alboran Trio (see here) have both been mentioned in my 25 Essential Jazz albums. A reminder to self: I absolutely need to write about the brilliant Enrico Pieranunzi

I just listened to the album below recently again, and felt the urge to write about a very nice mixture of Scandinavia and Italy here.

Stefano Bollani

Bollani enrolled at the local conservatory in Florence to learn the piano at the tender age of 11. He played quite a lot with Enrico Rava, an excellent Italian trumpet player. He also has recorded quite a bit with other big names in Jazz as well.

Bollani even released a recording of Gershwin’s piano concerto with Riccardo Chailly and the Gewandhaus, no less (on Decca). The latter by the way is an interesting version, he takes quite some liberties on this album, but it is certainly well worth hearing. His recent duo with Chick Corea on ECM (Orvieto) is also worth checking out.

Stone In The Water (2009)

Stefano Bollani Stone In The Water ECM 2009

My favorite Bollani recording is this Italo-Scandinavian trio recording from 2009, released on ECM, where he plays with the Danes Jesper Bodilsen and Morten Lund. These two also play on his very nice 2014 release Joy In Spite of Everything (also ECM), where they are joined by Bill Frisell and Mark Turner

Stone In the Water starts very strong with Dom De Iludir, a soft, melancholic ballad, and overall this album remains in the typical ECM “house sound” of what I would describe as “delicate and nuanced”. I also very much appreciate the occasional Brazilian influences in already the first track (written by a Brazilian), but also Brigas Nunca Mais.

The interplay between the three musicians is very fine, they really listen to each other. I cannot find a single track on this album I don’t like.

In summary, sometimes, less is more.

Overall rating: 4 stars

As usual with ECM, the recording quality is outstanding.

You can download it here (Qobuz) or here (GubeMusic).