Anders Jormin

Jormin, hailed by Down Beat as "a treasure ­ everything a bassist should be", has excelled on numerous ECM recordings with Bobo Stenson, Charles Lloyd, Don Cherry, and Tomasz Stanko. Solo pieces and compositions for brass quartet feature on"Xieyi", his first album under his own name for the label. The songs for bass mine the widest possible sources: Scandinavian religious hymns by Sibelius and Söderblom, Ornette Coleman’s "War Orphans","Gracias a la vida" by Chile’s Violetta Parra, tone poems by Swedish composers, a children’s song, and improvisations by Anders.

Featured Artists Recorded

December 1999 & October 2000

Original Release Date


  • 1Choral
    (Anders Jormin)
  • 2Giv mig ej glans - Hymn 433
    (Jean Sibelius)
  • 3I denna ljuva sommartid - Hymn 200
    (Nathan Söderblom)
  • 4Gracias a la vida
    (Violeta Parra)
  • 5Idas sommarvisa
    (Georg Riedel)
  • 6Xieyi
    (Anders Jormin)
  • 7Decimas
    (Anders Jormin)
  • 8Och kanske är det natt
    (Stefan Forssén)
  • 9Sul tasto
    (Anders Jormin)
  • 10Tenk
    (Anders Jormin)
  • 11Sonett till Cornelis
    (Stefan Forssén)
  • 12Romance-distance
    (Anders Jormin)
  • 13Scents
    (Anders Jormin)
  • 14Fragancia
    (Evert Taube)
  • 15Q
    (Anders Jormin)
  • 16War Orphans
    (Ornette Coleman)
  • 17Choral
    (Anders Jormin)
Stereoplay, Die Audiophile
Jormin's idea of the "voice" of the solo bass is refreshingly different from those of his contemporaries, with a tendency towards the delicate, the melodic and the quietly mischievous, while the gentle euphony of the brass compositions are perfectly in keeping while providing effective way-stations. I'll be re-visiting this album often.
Roger Thomas, Jazzreview
Jormin's bass solos are broken up by his brief compositions for brass quartet, all expressing a goal of "simplicity and arioso feeling". Indeed, few solo bass albums can be as melodic as this one. Some of the finest jazz bassists, of which Jormin is one, have been content to perform a rhythmic service role. But here Jormin really sings through a wide range of compositions, from hymns by Sibelius and others, and a stupendous version of Ornette Coleman's "War Orphans", to pure improvisations. The ECM sound is as stunning as expected.
Andy Hamilton, The Wire
Through the years ECM has guaranteed an elevated musical quality with so many highlights to enjoy. Among all these Xieyi is a great and shining jewel. Anders Jormin has made the impossible possible.
Bo Levander, Jönköpings Posten
This is clearly a daring project. The distance between the compositions of Violetta Parra, Jean Sibelius, Georg Riedel, Nathan Söderblom, Ornette Coleman and Anders Jormin is vast. Yet in the hands of Jormin and his double-bass, borders blur. Melody is kept in focus throughout, as the musics are brought together in a mosaic of exceptional transparency. Some of the tracks on Xieyi were, at the urging of producer Manfred Eicher, written by Jormin for brass ensemble. The brass sections work as a calm, almost sacral foundation, supporting the activity of the rest of the album.Anders Jormin has been one of the most exciting bassists in Sweden for a long time. Xieyi is a brilliant production. A record that vibrates with the urge to relate stories, to open new spaces, to propose new meetings. It would be hard not to like it.
Gabriel Byström, Göteborgs Posten
Der 1957 im schwedischen Jönköping geborene Bassist präsentiert hier einen erlesenen Reigen poetischer Soli, welche die Aufmerksamkeit des Hörers förmlich aufsaugen. Neben gezupften Deutungen religiöser Hymnen wie Jean Sibelius' "Giv mig ej glans" oder Nathan Söderbloms "I denna ljuva sommartid" in fast pietistischer Kargheit stehen feinsinnige Eigenkompositionen und Improvisationen, etwa das perkussive "Tenk", aber auch eine subtil mit dem Bogen ausgestaltete Interpretation des Songs "Gracias a la vida" der Chilenin Violeta Parra. Durchbrochen werden die grandios körperreich aufgenommenen Kontrabass-Soli (Toningenieur: Johannes Lundberg) auf Anregung des Produzenten Manfred Eicher durch sechs kurze, von Jormin geschriebene Stücke für ein Bläser-Quartett mit Trompete, Horn, Posaune und Bassposaune. So beginnt und endet die CD auch mit einem "Choral" für diese Besetzung: mehr als nur ein versteckter Hinweis auf die geradezu sakrale Reinheit einer Musik, die unaufdringlich den Hörer auf sich selbst zurückführt und zum Nachdenken über den Sinn des Lebens anregt. Genau dies meint der chinesische Begriff "Xieyi".
Sven Thielmann, Stereoplay
Jormin hat ... den ultimativen Beweis dafür geliefert, dass er auf Xieyi, trotz des weitgehenden Solo-Charakters der Einspielung, weniger als Bassist, denn als Musiker gearbeitet hat. Als Musiker, dessen Klangsprache die Grenzen des eigenen Instruments hier mühelos überschreitet und auch in andere Besetzungen übersetzt werden kann. Im Mittelpunkt des Projekts stehen also nicht die tiefen Töne, sondern die musikalische Tiefe.
Volker Doberstein, Jazzpodium
Was ist entscheidend' Große Gesten und Lautstärke' Oder Gefühl, Können und unaufdringliche Bescheidenheit' Xieyi des schwedischen Bassisten Anders Jormin legt solche Fragen nahe, denn der chinesische Titel lautet übersetzt "Die Bedeutung des Lebens aufschreiben", meint aber auch eine Mal-Technik, bei der mit wenigen freien Pinselstrichen ein Gemälde angefertigt wird - eine Leistung, die viel Übung und Lebenserfahrung voraussetzt. Eine derartige Reife und Tiefe lassen auch die elf Stücke für Solo-Kontrabass spüren, die Anders Jormin 1999 aufnahm. In einigen Titeln schwingt eine volksliedhaft klare Melodik mit. In Ornette Colemans "War Orphans" lässt Jormin den Bass unter Schlägen mit dem Bogen ächzen, bevor er ihm mit sensiblem Strich die brüchige Melodie entlockt. Sechs kurze Stücke für Bläserquartett verstärken durch ihren dunklen Klang die besinnliche Atmosphäre. Die wunderbare, tiefe innere Ruhe dieser Aufnahme weist tatsächlich auf etwas ganz Grundlegendes hin, das sich verbaler Beschreibung weitgehend entzieht.
Werner Stiefele, Scala
"Xieyi" is a Chinese term of compound meaning. Literally "to write life's sense", it's also the name of a traditional style of ink painting distinguished by free brushstrokes. Anders Jormin, for whom musical "freedom" also signifies the freedom to sing a simple song, returns in this recording for bass and brass to melodies that have brought meaning to his own life.

As he says, "There are songs that touch and deeply affect the heart. Songs that move you, awake memories and come back to you time and again. Songs whose lyrics and profound musical vitality carry thoughts and emotions so close to your own hitherto unspoken credo. On this album I've tried, in my own way, to sing with my instrument some of these songs so significant for me, and for many others as well."

"Xieyi" is Anders Jormin's first album as a leader for ECM, but the Swedish bassist (born in Jönköping in 1957) has been a powerful presence on recordings for the label over the last decade, including Charles Lloyd's "Notes from Big Sur", "The Call", "All My Relations", and "Canto", Don Cherry's "Dona Nostra", Bobo Stenson's "Reflections", "War Orphans", and "Serenity", and Tomasz Stanko's "Matka Joanna", "Leosia", and "From The Green Hill". Other leading musicians with whom Jormin has played include Marilyn Crispell, Elvin Jones, Joe Henderson, Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, and Kenny Wheeler. The range of his knowledge and ability prompted Down Beat to hail him recently as "a treasure - everything a bassist should be."

Conceived originally as a bass solo album, the project was expanded, at the suggestion of Manfred Eicher, to include short pieces for brass quartet. Slotted alternately in between the solo bass performances, the compositions for brass instruments extend the atmosphere of the bass pieces and provide textural contrast. "In the interests of consistency of sound and atmosphere, as well as a natural and organic form for the interpretations and improvisations, the bass pieces were all recorded on the same occasion, a rainy evening - 17th December 1999 - in the church-like Organ Hall at the School of music and musicology in Göteborg, Sweden." The brass miniatures were written with "the same goal of simplicity and arioso feeling."

Jormin has been performing solo bass recitals, to great acclaim, for many years and is comfortable with this demanding format. He is able to draw on the full range of his experience which, in addition to the jazz tradition and free improvisation, includes classical studies and research into "ethnic" musics, research which has incorporated extended visits to Cuba and Mozambique.

While all the pieces for brass quartet are written by Jormin, the songs for bass derive from the widest possible sources: Scandinavian religious hymns by Sibelius and Söderblom, a wonderful account of Ornette Coleman's "War Orphans" previously the title track of an album by the Stenson-Jormin-Christensen trio (ECM 1604), "Gracias a la vida" by Violetta Parra, the Chilean woman who revolutionized Latin-American music, tone poems by Swedish composers, a children's song, and improvisations by Anders.

The blend and juxtaposition of song, improvisation and composition is one that Jormin has explored with the Bobo Stenson Trio, and in drawing upon jazz, 20th century art music, folk and "world" music sources the bassist has shaped an album that is both a powerful statement in its own right and a natural companion volume to the trio's "Serenity" album; it shares similar artistic concerns.

Anders Jormin tours Europe with the Bobo Stenson Trio in November. Presentation concerts to mark the release of "Xieyi" are planned in Gothenborg, Sweden, and at the Swedish Embassy in London.
2024 May 05 MaiJazz Stavanger, Norway