The music of Tord Gustavsen Quartet show traces of inspiration from sources as diverse as Scandinavian folk music; Caribbean music; early blues, gospel and hymns and Impressionism – but all transformed and integrated into a highly original universe. March sees Gustavsen touring the UK in support of the release of his quartet’s most recent outing: ‘The Well’ (ECM).
Read MIC Norway’s recent interview with Tord Gustavsen HERE.
Tord Gustavsen has released four critically acclaimed albums on ECM Records with his trio and his extended ensemble. He has toured extensively worldwide over a period of eight years. Gustavsen's upcoming release brings you the quartet version of Tord Gustavsen Ensemble, featuring Tore Brunborg on saxophones; Mats Eilertsen on bass; and Jarle Vespestad on drums.
The extended ensemble is a natural prolongation of Tord’s trio work, keeping up a radical search for artistic honesty in stripped-‐down beauty. But the new formation also adds new colours and dimensions to Tord’s music – through the sensibilities of some of the most intriguing players on the vibrant and eclectic Scandinavian jazz scene. Since the release of the previous ensemble album, the quartet has taken its integration of spare minimalism and darker, denser interplay even further to produce the new album ‘The Well’ ahead of this current tour. The upcoming release will still lean heavily on strong melodies and less-‐is-‐more attitude. But it also shows traces of inspiration from more complex Scandinavian folk dance rhythms. And Tord’s compositions are somewhat more harmonically elaborate this time, although staying true to the emphasis on down-‐to-‐earth musical sensuality.
When the popular Norwegian jazz pianist Tord Gustavsen expanded his regular trio to a quartet, adding atmospheric saxophonist Tore Brunborg for the album Restored Returned, he found his perfect band. The Well takes that group’s development into more structurally intricate territory by Gusatvsens’s standards, but his signature ingredients of low key gospel playing, acres of open space, memorable melodies and a glistening delicacy of touch are all present. A more urgent feel is quickly apparent when the opener’s church-music solemnity is followed by a snare-drum tattoo and the pianist’s rolls and swerves on the sinewy Playing. […] The delicious Circling sounds like a slow Keith Jarrett, and the shifting harmonies of the title track reflect Gustavsen’s investigation of a slightly busier musical work. The evolving story of this group remains pretty irresistible.
John Fordham, The Guardian
After three close to perfect piano trio albums followed by a slightly more tentative ensemble-recording featuring the musicians of the present quartet (Tore Brunborg on reeds, Mats Eilertson on bass and Jarle Vespestad on drums) The Well synthesises composer Gustavsen's high seriousness and groovy, gospel-tinged vamps.
"Circling" is the track that really cooks, but it's all of a piece: stately lullaby-themes given rhythmic momentum by Vespestad's drum'n'bassy whispers.
Phil Johnson, The Independent
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Listen to Tord Gustavsen's 'The Well' on Wimp HERE.
ECM Records (Record Companies\Outside Norway)
Tord Gustavsen, Jazz pianist