Top positive review
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Beautiful music from Norway
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.