Back in the early ’90s, when Charles Lloyd had begun his comeback into active music after a self-imposed absence of 20 years, he gave frequent interviews to curious jazz journalists. At some point, when the conversation turned to one of his recent concerts or albums, Lloyd would ask suspiciously, “Have you checked out Bobo yet?” He liked to test writers, and if his current piano player, Bobo Stenson, had not blown you away then Lloyd lost confidence in you on the spot.
Some American journalists remembered Stenson from a quartet he co-led with Jan Garbarek in the early ’70s. But whether they knew the name or not, when they heard Stenson with Lloyd most asked themselves the question that so many Americans journalists ask when they encounter a world-class European jazz musician: “Who is this guy? Where did he come from? How did he get this good?”