Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Tord Gustavsen Trio

Saw these lot playing last night - no time to write now but here's an review from the Observer of their most recent album...

Tord Gustavsen Trio, The Ground

***** Melancholia is marvellous - and quiet, says Stuart Nicholson

Sunday February 20, 2005
The Observer

The music biz long ago rendered terms like 'excellent' or 'very good indeed' meaningless. A shame, because when someone does emerge who really is 'very good indeed', it's now necessary to reach for the kind of superlatives that would do justice to the Second Coming.

But in the case of Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen, no hype is necessary. His debut album, 2003's Changing Places, was an unexpected bestseller not because of any media campaign (there was none) but through word of mouth: a small sign in this Big Mac society of ours that there's a way of bypassing the culture we get to reach the culture we deserve.

The Ground takes up from where Changing Places left off and wallows in those feelings of faint melancholy you get when gazing out of the window on a wet Sunday afternoon. Gustavsen is a pianist of poetic cast, an exceptionally lucid player with a sure sense of melodic structure and an often astonishing lyrical imagination. Together with bassist Harald Johnsen and drummer Jarle Vespestad - who follow the precise contours of his compositions with unflappable taste - he creates music rich with inner meaning and nuance.

And if there was an award for the quietest band in the world, Gustavsen's Trio would win it hands down. Their self-imposed dynamic range, from an I-can't-quite-hear-you pianissimo to a that's-a-bit-better mezzo piano, draws you into their music in the same way that you instinctively lean forward to hear a conversation conducted in hushed tones.

Spellbinding stuff.

Burn it: 'Edges of Happiness'; 'Token of Tango'

Tord Gustavsen Links

Tord Gustavsen Trio website;

Tord Gustavsen at ECM records;

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