New album from the Nordic trio
Of the Norwegian artists that ECM has introduced over the years, pianist Tord Gustavsen must count as one of the least "Nordic" in musical temperament. If the contemplative component of his music and its quietude still reflect Scandinavian priorities, the manner in which he has sought and located connections to early jazz — especially the blues, gospel music, and the nexus of Caribbean music and New Orleans jazz - is entirely his own.
"This is the chill-out as a state of grace, and it can go as deep as you like. Sublime," wrote the Independent on Sunday of the Gustavsen's trio's Being There, released in 2007. Over the last decade Tord has experimented with other ensemble forms and formats, but on The Other Side — recorded at Oslo's Rainbow Studio in January 2018 — he returns decisively to the piano trio, with faithful drummer Jarle Vespestad, and excellent new bassist Sigurd Hole. Hole's approach to his instrument, drawing on folk influences as well as modern jazz, is ideally suited to Gustavsen's slowly-developing, deeply melodic pieces. The album, produced by Manfred Eicher, is issued on the eve of a major tour