All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 (or more) and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help

137

Tord Gustavsen - The Ground (2005)

SOURCE:
Published:
Sign in to view read count
Tord Gustavsen
By Mark Saleski

Fans of pianist Bill Evans will probably bristle at the comparison here, but that was the first connection that popped into my head with The Ground. Well, go ahead and bristle away because label-mate Keith Jarrett and “new ager" Liz Story also came to mind.

The term new age was wrapped in quotes because, even though everybody seems to know what it means, it has become both meaningful and empty—applied to multiple (and very different) musics. George Winston, new age? Sure. Alex DeGrassi? Yes. Liz Story? Of course. Will Ackerman? No doubt.

The problem is that the effort to force a categorization gives hollow results. Think about something like Keith Jarrett's improvised concerts. Jazz? Blues? Folk Song? New Age?

Yes.

So while Tord Gustavsen's trio lineup matches the classic jazz piano trio, the music breaks out of the jazz perimeter to encompass bits of other forms including blues, folk song and even the dreaded new age. The sharpest signals picked up by my ears was the muted soulfulness of Bill Evans and the lyricism of Keith Jarrett. Just below that is the playful music of a Liz Story and the folkiness of George Winston.

Gustavsen's band avoids flash, but impresses by relying on sensitivity and quick interplay. Drummer Jarle Vespedstad quietly paints counterrhythms to the leader's piano phrases using some tasty snare and cymbal work. The double-bass of Harald Johnsen, woody in the extreme (and I mean that in the best possible way!), never gets in the way and seems to lay the groundwork for the trio with phrases that foreshadow the piano to follow ("Reach Out And Touch" is a perfect example).



Gustavsen's piano style ranges from subtle romanticism ("Kneeling Down") to more modern shadings (the far too short “Interlude" fades with some gorgeous shifting block chords). Like his bandmates, flash is never considered as service to the melody and underlying theme takes top priority.

The Ground might not please listeners looking for an adrenaline wash of sound. It might not even please those expecting traditional jazz trio music. It's that indeterminate ground gluing several genres together. That's were interesting music thrives. It's here.

Continue Reading...

This story appears courtesy of Something Else!.
Copyright © 2016. All rights reserved.

Live From Philadelphia
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
What was said
What was said
ECM Records
2016
buy
Tord Gustavsen Quartet: Extended Circle
Tord Gustavsen...
ECM Records
2014
buy
Extended Circle
Extended Circle
ECM Records
2014
buy
Tord Gustavsen Quartet: The Well
Tord Gustavsen...
ECM Records
2012
buy
Restored, Returned
Restored, Returned
ECM Records
2010
buy
Restored, Returned
Restored, Returned
ECM Records
2009
buy

Shop For Jazz

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.