Indicum starts out conventionally enough with a rendition of Bill Evans’ Your Story, a gentle piece that lulls you into a false assumption that is quickly upturned in the next number. That tune is Indikon, a band composition that is distinctly scandiwegian in the absence of blues influences and the presence of a compulsive rhythmic drive. Indicum finds pianist Stenson in the trio he has worked with since 2004 with Anders Jormin on bass and Jon Falt on drums. They are clearly tied together by a wealth of experience, it would be very difficult to produce music that combines this much complexity with so little effort without it. Of the 12 numbers on the disc five are by the band or its members, the rest come from all over the musical landscape. This gives Indicum a variety that is missing from the work of less experienced bands, Stenson understands that it takes a range of ideas to maintain energy across a whole album. But this is also an exceptional band, it can deliver a form of alchemy with the minimum of notes, it communicates in a subtle and multi-faceted style that means that the music is accessible yet always interesting.
Stenson has more flow and heart than most pianists in jazz, he is sparing but not cool and creates a warm sound that one suspects reflects the man, it’s a rare combination of technique and feeling that you don’t get with younger players. The rhythm section is likewise unusually articulate, even the bass solo is interesting and the use of percussion imaginative yet understated. This really is a very fine album, an obvious contender for my 2012 top ten.