1. Right There
2. Eg Veit I Himmerik Ei Borg
4. The Gift
5. Staying There
6. Silent Spaces
7. Entrance, var.
9. The Embrace
10. Bass Transition
12. The Prodigal Song
Tord Gustavsen - Piano
Tore Brunberg - Tenor sax
Mats Eilertsen - Bass
Jarle Vespestad - Drums
The Norwegian pianist/composer Tord Gustavsen has
become one of ECM's best-selling artists in recent years. No doubt
this CD will be bought by many admirers regardless of anything a reviewer
might say. On the other hand, I know many jazz fans who would not
touch it with the proverbial bargepole, regarding it as nothing more
than `soporific noodling'. I must admit that when I enjoy a recording
that borders on jazz and classical chamber music, then I enjoy it
a lot and am likely to play it regularly, especially in the late hours.
This CD - the second with this line-up - will certainly fall into
The opening track with just the trio sets the tone - slow, reflective, hymn-like and hypnotic. Tenor saxist Bronberg joins in on the second track (a
Norwegian hymn tune), floating seamlessly over the rhythm. At times, especially on Entrance, his tenor's meditative tone is more like that of a
soprano sax, although later in the recording, particularly on the blues-tinged Staying There, he demonstrates a warmer, fuller tone. The Gift, another trio track, is a lyrical masterpiece of breathtaking beauty. On Silent Spaces, Gustavsen plays solo, creating an
intense, mysterious atmosphere that rewards repeated listening.
changes the mood with an upbeat rocking rhythm that emphasises the high quality of Eilertsen's bass-playing and Vespestad's drumming. The final two tracks
are outstanding examples of chamber jazz: Glow begins wistfully and gradually builds to feature a brooding solo by Bronberg; The Prodigal Son returns to the reflective mood of the first track with Gustavsen producing melodic lines of crystalline beauty.
Beautifully recorded, of course - and highly recommended.