Uncompromising search for beauty

The internationally praised Tord Gustavsen Trio displays a striking soundscape of spacious Nordic-Caribbean-bluesy character, employing original compositions by Tord Gustavsen. They tour the UK from 29 April in Bristol to 13 May in Glasgow.

07/05/2004 :: The musicians in Tord Gustavsen Trio are just as uncompromising in their search for beauty as they are in their search for a creative approach with fresh phrasing and imaginative playing.

Pianist Tord Gustavsen's playing has formed a cornerstone in projects featuring some of the finest Norwegian singers, including Silje Nergaard, Siri Gjære, Kristin Asbjørnsen and Live Maria Roggen.

His way of conversing jazz history with 'Nordic' reflective moods and lyrical beauty brings about an intriguing voice on today's music scene.

"Changing Places" was released in Norway January 2003. Releases in the US, Canada, Japan and the rest of Europe followed in March and April. In Norway, the CD even hit the pop charts, which is rare for an instrumental album.

Tord Gustavsen piano
Harald Johnsen bass
Jarle Vespestad drums

Tour dates:

  • 29 April Bristol, St. George's
  • 4 May Brighton, 'Brighton Festival', The Corn Exchange, Brighton Dome
  • 5 May Nottingham, Djanogly Recital Hall, Lakeside Arts Centre
  • 6 May York, 'Spring Festival of New Music', Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York
  • 7 May Norwich, 'Norfolk & Norwich Festival' The Playhouse Theatre
  • 8 May London, The Purcell Room, The South Bank Centre
  • 9 May Oxford, Jaqueline du Pre Music Building. St. Hilda's College
  • 11 Southampton, Turner Sims Concert Hall, University of S'hampton
  • 13 May Glasgow, CCA (Centre for Contemporary Arts)

The BBC will record the Purcell Room concert in London 8 May.

Writings in the press:

"Changing Places is a beauty ... yearning, tender meditations, occasionally coloured with the palest of the Blues ... [T]he compositions have quiet insistence that'll have you humming them for days to come. Gustavsen's music is fresh, intuitive and heartfelt. A truly beautiful record that (if there's any justice) will find a place as one of ECM's finest releases of the last few years, and probably a place in your heart too. Gorgeous." BBC Jazz - UK

"Original music that is soulful, meditative and eccentric. .. Changing Places does not swing so much as sway, somewhere between folk music and modern chamber piano trio jazz. .. Insistent to remain in repose. * * * * Downbeat

"Impressive. The band's 'subtle funkiness' makes the CD both instantly memorable and worthy of repeated plays." The Independent, UK

"Jazz debut of the year, no messing"
Independent on Sunday

" * * * * A very enjoyable album. .. The music works. It's good to listen to. Two pluses and no minuses adds up to something worthwhile." Jazzwise - UK

"Changing Places will make the personal short list of favorite late-night jazz recordings for everyone who hears it. Gustavsen possesses a reflective lyric sensibility that overlays seamlessly on midnight. ... firm musical substance beneath that dreamy, seductive, alluring surface. ... His lines compel close attention through their absence of cliché." JazzTimes, USA

"Gustavsen is a master of pianistic control and restraint, and he is at least matched by bassist Harald Johasen, whose double bass indeed 'walks,' but with the intricate complexity of a daddy-long-legs; and by drummer Jane Vespestad, whose subtle re-sectionings of time are, as often as not, played with his bare hands. All three play like virtuosos who have not the slightest interest in showcasing their chops. This is the least grandstanding great jazz album I have heard since Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. ... With his very first record as a leader, Tord Gustavsen has created an instant classic." Stereophile Magazine, US (rewarding the album with top 5 stars for both performance and sound).

"Deceptively simple at first, Changing Places is a gorgeous album that provides layers of substance on repeated listening. This is one disc that will be in my CD player for months to come." Jazzitude

"Changing Places is an unusual achievement ... Technical display is at a premium, and the compositions are beguiling simple and intensely melodic. Gustavsen avoids flourishes of emotion, and while it's brave to begin an album at the funereal pace of 'Deep As Love', it's braver still to continue that way. But this is a tempo which allows real improvisation, as Lee Konitz would put it. 'Turning Point' in particular is hauntingly beautiful. Changing Places is a distinctive achievement and marks the emergence of a potentially major talent." Andy Hamilton, Jazz Review - Editor's Choice

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Tord Gustavsen TrioPhoto: Erik Laeskogen