TORD GUSTAVSEN PIANO
With the release of his first recording in 2003 entitled Changing Places, Norway's Tord Gustavsen came forth with a new and unique sound that commanded worldwide attention, an extraordinary achievement given the rich history of jazz piano. With only a few carefully chosen notes, he draws listeners into a musical world where melody is cherished as much as the freedom to explore textures and soundscapes. Taking care to play only that which says something and leaving space for listeners to savor what has been said, his bands unite beauty and emotional intensity, touching souls in a way that many describe as spiritual. “For me, playing the piano is very similar to a meditation or prayer,” he says. “It’s about opening up to the forces of beauty and transcendence. Music can be a kind of deepest reality that exceeds everything words can express.”
His music is the offspring of American jazz and European culture. From the American masters he adopted their instrumentation, the piano trio with bass and drums; the idea of playing songs and improvising on their melodies and harmony; the sensitivity jazz musicians showed to each other's playing and whose interplay creates a genuine ensemble sound. He applied these ideas and his instinct as a composer to the church hymns of his youth, the classical music he loved, the Scandinavian folk music of his homeland.
The result was a unique, immediately identifiable Norwegian jazz sound, a descendant of the original and fresh with new sources of inspiration, which has won the hearts of music lovers worldwide and established Gustavsen as Scandinavia's leading jazz artist.
His ninth album for ECM Records was released in April and is entitled Opening. Ten new Gustavsen compositions are joined by works of Norwegian composers Geirr Tveitt and Egil Hovland.
MONTAGE FROM THE ALBUM OPENING
INTERVIEW WITH FIONA BLACK OF BLUSHORE AT CAPILANO UNIVERSITY
"... Gustavsen is a Svengali of the piano. He draws you into his encompassing atmosphere of rapt contemplation. His music feels soothing at first, but the depth of his emotional exposure requires creative listeners. To participate with Gustavsen on his journey is to embrace one's own emotional exposure."
THOMAS CONRAD, JAZZ TIMES (USA)
"Gustavsen is a master of the soft tones, the unexcited, the introspective, which he causes to blossom in such a way that it develops a spiritual power and becomes the antidote to everything higher-faster-further. The magic of these sounds, which are like a collective stream of consciousness, proves to be sustainable and beguiling."
ULRICH STEINMETZGER, LEIPZIGER VOLKSZEITUNG (GERMANY)
"It is clearer than ever: Gustavsen does not touch the keys, he sings on them."
WOLFGANG GRATZER, JAZZ PODIUM (GERMANY)
"When I put on the Tord Gustavsen Trio's new recording Opening, I took a deep breath in -- then I let the trio breathe out. I have recently had several conversations with people about how difficult it is to comeback -- not everyone bounces straight back after two years of pandemic. They need time. And that's what Tord Gustavsen gives us. This is music to breathe. As Gustavsen gently let the weight of his finger press down on the key, it is as if he hypnotizes the listener into deep rest. Tord Gustavsen has given us a room to rest at in Opening."
TORKJELL HOVLAND, BALLADE.NO (NORWAY)
"Music like this is what happens when the improvisational sensibility turns toward the European musical tradition. In Gustavsen's hands, it's a mine of musical inspiration as rich as that upon which the great American jazz tradition rests."
ALAN O'RIORDAN, IRISH EXAMINER (IRELAND)
BEING THERE - PERFORMED LIVE AT KULTURKIRKEN JAKOB, NORWAY
ON EVERY CORNER - IN CONCERT AT LA ROQUE D'ANTHERON 2011, FRANCE
STREAM (TORD GUSTAVSEN) FROM THE ALBUM OPENING
CAME SO FAR FOR BEAUTY / TEARS TRANSFORMING (LEONARD COHEN, TORD GUSTAVSEN) LIVE AT THE BBC