Top positive review
8 people found this helpful
on 22 January 2014
Composer/pianist Norwegian Tord Gustavsen sees this album as the completion of a trilogy after 'Restored, Returned' in 2009 and 'The Well' in 2012. It is a logical progression from the latter carrying much of the choral and spiritual feel to this release. It is, simply put, a divine, ethereal statement from a collective quartet of musicians. Meditative and sombre with occasional bluesy numbers involving tenor saxophonist Toro Brunborg, the 12 numbers are graceful, subtle and elegant with what Gustavsen calls 'a structured sequence and thoroughly conceived transitions'. The album sounds like an extended suite from the opening trio piece, 'Right There', played with the pianist in mournful style, to the final track, also a trio 'The Prodigal Son'
There is not a dud on this recording that continues to astonish with the quality of the songs and playing with passion where the body and the sprit express themselves though their instruments. The hymn 'Eg Veit I Himmerick Ei Borg' (A Castle in Heaven) commences with up-tempo drumming from Vespestad behind meditative piano suddenly shaken by the entrance of Brunborg. The group composition 'The Entrance' is taken at a funereal pace opening with Brunborg's almost falsetto delivery. 'The Gift' is a wonderfully constructed piano showcase for Gustavsen who is outstanding throughout the album with his spare, tender playing, as well as composing all but two of the numbers. 'Staying There' is a vehicle for Brunborg to demonstrate his sax. blues skills. There is so much going on here. Eilertson's bass lines are strong throughout and highlighted by his short 'Bass Transition'. 'The Embrace' feels as if the quartet, with prominent saxophone, are trying to tell a story. Vespestad's drumming is always assured. The gospel, blues, spiritual, reflective and communal confidence runs throughout this wholly satisfying and magnificent album that is highly recommended and improves further after multiple plays. Needless to say the ECM production and sound are outstanding.