Born: October 5, 1970 Primary Instrument: Piano
This is music that sings, at once gentle and robust. Lyrical, immediately memorable songs, songs of an appealing freshness, yet sophisticated in their involvement with the melodic line.
In the seven years that have elapsed since the recording of a debut album that proved both a popular and a critical success, Tord Gustavsen has toured extensively, crystallizing the musical approach and developing new compositions. The second trio album The Ground was released in 2005. In 2007 the trio completed a unique trilogy with a release named Being There.
In 2009, Tord changed into a different and somewhat more flexible ensemble form, releasing the album Restored, Returned with a line-up including Kristin Asbjørnsen (vocals), Tore Brunborg (saxophones), Mats Eilertsen (bass), Jarle Vespestad (drums). The ensemble continues to perform in duo, trio, quartet and quintet formats — exploring the different internal configurations while still remaining essentially one musical project. The quartet formation has since become Tord's major touring and recording constellation, with recent ECM releases The Well (2012) and Extended Circle (2014).
Tord's music is still melodic and almost romantic. It still displays a striking, spacious 'Nordic-Caribbean-gospel-bluesy' fresh feel while presenting Tord Gustavsen's original compositions. The ensemble also integrates new musical fields in its interaction, and the musical palette is widened with a fuller spectrum in dynamics and timbres. The musicians are just as un-compromising in their search for beauty as they are in their search for a creative approach with fresh phrasing and imaginative playing.
Awards:Selected awards: Norwegian Grammy (Spellemannsprisen) 2009 for "Restored, Returned" // Bell Award, Australia 2006 - "The Ground" voted best international jazz album of the year by Australian critics // "The Ground" sold to gold in Norway (20,000 copies), and has sold more than 15,000 copies in Germany // Other awards include: Stereophile (Recording of the month); Jazzreview (Editor’s Choice); Le Monde de la musique (Choc du mois); Jazzman (Choc du mois); Fono Forum (Empfehlung des Monats); Piano News (CD des Doppel- monats); Gramophone Korea (Editor’s Choice)
Gustavsen's tunes are hypnotically strong (John Fordham - The Guardian, UK)
A trilogy [that] could be the most essential jazz document of the last ten year. Sublime. (Phil Johnson, Independent on Sunday, UK)
There is a tremendous emotional depth to this music, which is at the same time subtly grooving. ... music of notable charm and lasting effect. (Ian Patterson, All About Jazz)
Ein betörendes Meisterwerk der leisen Töne (Jazzpodium, De.)
Die Musik vereint Gegensetliches, trennt wieder, hebt Widersprüche, spitzt sie zu - und dies alles gleichzeitig. (Norbert Dömling, Süddeutsche Zeiting, De,)
More press quotes on www.tordgustavsen.com