Tord Gustavsen Trio

The Other Side


Those already anticipating his sole Scottish autumn date in Helensburgh in October will have noted Tord Gustavsen’s return to the piano-bass-drums format which established the Norwegian as one of Europe’s new jazz stars in the early noughties.

Following the tragically early death of his bassist, Harald Johnsen in 2007, the pianist moved on to larger ensembles and work with singers rather than continue the trio. These projects have clearly given him fresh impetus as he sounds reinvigorated, in his calm, distilled ideas way, with new bassist Sigurd Hole’s bowing providing some lovely colouring and long-serving drummer Jarle Vespestad continuing to find spaces to fill with inspired choices and creating quiet grooves when the occasion demands.

Church music remains a major influence on Gustavsen, as does the Norwegian folk tradition, and there are three reworked Bach pieces including Jesu, Meine Freude which bubbles ominously but beautifully as well as one by nineteenth century composer Ludwig Mathias Lindeman that unfolds and flourishes like a traditional ballad. More in keeping with the jazz ballad tradition is Curves, which closes the album with understated loveliness from a unit who are clearly listening to one another intently.