“Stories Yet To Tell” is the second ECM album from the British-German-Italian trio that made the Grammy-nominated “Distances” (a recording which also won the Top Jazz Vocal CD prize of France’s Academie du Jazz and contributed to Norma Winstone’s winning of Germany’s Skoda Jazz Ahead Award for services to European Jazz). If the awards have emphasized the trio’s remarkable singer, this is nonetheless a real band with a unique ensemble identity.
Jazz ballads, old and new, find their place alongside – for instance – adaptations of Friulian folk songs, and ‘chamber’ pieces influenced by classical or contemporary composition. Textures, colours and rhythms may be drawn from scattered, surprising sources: a thirteenth century Troubadour ballad, an Armenian cradle song and more.
The musicians play songs from Mexico’s Armando Manzanero to Armenia’s Komitas, to Wayne Shorter. What they take they make their own, much of the material they compose themselves, and most of the words are Norma’s. As both singer and lyricist she has few contemporary peers: her words seem to float up from the music’s expressive core.
The trio is a band in which creative responsibilities are very equally shared. Glauco Venier and Klaus Gesing have collaborated in musical projects since the mid-90s, including a long running duo. They invited Norma to join them for Italian concerts a decade ago and the singer soon recognized a potential for developing a trio music with its own specific character, meanwhile documented on three outstanding recordings: “Chamber Music” (Universal, released 2004), “Distances” (ECM, 2008), and the present disc, produced by Manfred Eicher in Udine in 2009.