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4.5 out of 5 stars17
4.5 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 13 May 2003
Despite the distribution problems which certain sellers have experienced, I am amazed that no one has yet reviewed this release. Feted on Radio 3, The Tord Gustavsen Trio provide another chapter in the apparently endless ECM book of Scandanivian jazz.
There are some great lyrical contemporary jazz pianists: Bobo Stenson, Enrico Pieranunzi and Esbjorn Svensson to name a few and Gustavsen proves himself of comparable quality. His music is much less upbeat and swinging than either Pieranunzi's or Svensson's in their different ways and is closer in its elegiac qualities to Stenson's recent output.
The piano is very much the lead instrument here and Gustavsen is given the space to express himself. That said, Harald Johnsen is a very nimble and unintrusive bassist and Jarle Vespestad's flickering, precise and complementary percussion is of the top drawer. These two instruments are noticeable in their absence on the closing solo piano version of the aptly-titled Song of Yearning a full rendition of which is the fulcrum of the album.
The finest song is the especially evocative Graceful Touch but the melodic invention and atmosphere are sustained over the full 66 minutes. On this point, it is all too easy to take ECM's production techniques for granted, but once again the purity of sound is exceptional.
The majority of ECM artists have lengthy careers with the label. Let us hope that the Tord Gustavsen Trio are no exception.
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on 25 June 2007
I've been listening to artists on ECM for many years and occasionally, just occasionally, I'll come up on something that makes me sit up and take notice. Pat Metheny, Eberhard Weber, Jan Garbarek, Arve Henriksen immediately spring to mind, but not that many piano/ bass/ drums trios. It's a very well trodden path for musicians, and that could be why I was reluctant to give him a listen before. Well, that's been my loss and I'm going to get hold of more asap.

The style doesn't get into the oh-so-quite-you-wonder-if-they've-all-gone-home variety, and you won't find yourself waiting with baited breath for the next tinkling cymbal to appear, but it's definitely a relaxing, thoughtful, rewarding and strangely uplifing experience. I don't know whether it's a good thing to say or not, but Tord's playing style occasionally called to mind the relaxed bluesy style of Norah Jones - I'm not saying this album is like any of her albums, just talking about the playing style! - (and actually she's a fine piano player).

The playing of the trio is so sympathetically connected, - this is not a pianist with drums/ bass support album - and one piece, "Where Breathing Starts", has a bass solo that grows and develops into what must surely be one of the most emotional double bass solos ever committed to whatever cds are made out of these days.

Excellent stuff!
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on 27 May 2004
All three members of the Tord Gustavsen Trio (piano - drums - bass) manage to mix an intuitive sensitivity for the music and a remarkable degree of dexterity with a delicate tenderness that makes each and every one of their pieces sound full of yearning.
This is potentially the biggest problem with the album; the pace varies little and each song is infused with such melancholy that some people may find it a little dull. However, listening closely reaps massive rewards. The music is almost universally very quiet, so devoting one's whole attention to it helps. And in fact, whilst all their songs are powerful, they are not full of such despair as may be immediately apparent.
All three musicians are clearly virtuosos. In concert, Gustavsen leans close over the keyboard, feeling every note; listening to this CD and without being able to see this, the listener nonetheless gets the impression that musician and music are completely intertwined, but is at least as likely to be impressed by his sheer technical ability.
Drummer Vespestad, in his spare time a skinhead thrash-metal musician, proves himself to have a wonderful sensitivity, sometimes playing so quietly (with brushes or his fingers) that the listener must strain to be sure a sound was played at all. Johnsen, meanwhile, adds able support much of the time but is able to produce intricate melodies from his instrument sounding more like a guitar than a double bass.
Subtle yet profound, this album resolutely refuses to hurry yet never threatens to be boring, simply because it is so beautifully expressive.
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I would like to offer up an array of superlatives on this most exquisite and evocative ECM debut and then say more...
It is subtle, lyrical and lilting in a way that draws you in and holds your attention and breath.
It feels like a summer day, lying on a green lawn listening to the wind slipping through the trees above.
Tord gives the impression he has absorbed latin jazz and twisted and mutated it into something much, much gentler and nuanced.
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on 25 October 2006
Tord Gustavsen and his trio have somehow managed to find a little niche within the piano trio genre. Their music is lyrical and very easy to listen to (without being in any way 'easy listening' with all the beige horror that implies); it's understated and refuses to be rushed. I've knocked off a star because I personally prefer The Ground, which for me is even more perfectly-formed! Make no mistake, all three guys know what they're about. What you don't get is manic, breathless notes-for-the-sake-of-it solos, but you do get gorgeous music.
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on 19 February 2007
I bought this album blind, on a hunch, and was well rewarded,shades of Bill Evans at his best,a mesmerisingly beautiful album which starts off very subtly,gentle and restrained, as it flows on the pace warms up and becomes more energetic, though never irritating,appears effortless, yet theres a lot going on, one for a dark room late at night. Very tight playing with everybody blending together perfectly. Each spin shows up another shade, sensitively done, jazz of the highest order...buy it.
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on 31 October 2014
Typically Gustavsen. Calming, civilised, intelligent and humane.
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on 19 December 2014
Just love this CD. Beautiful music. Highly recommended.
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on 18 June 2003
I'm not a particularly big fan of Jazz music. In fact this is the first album that I have bought which could fall under that category. As soon as I put it on, I knew within the first few seconds that I would fall in love with it. It has a very mellow, relaxed, atmospheric feel to it; close your eyes and you can just imagine what it feels like to be a jazz club with live music and a glass of port in your hand. Some may argue that this is classical music rather than jazz, but whatever it is, if you love music in general and your trying to find the ultimate in chillout, well, look no further.
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on 30 October 2012
If you're a Gustavsen fan you won't regret this purchase. Lovely laid back and lyrical - another great album from this wonderful artist.
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