Quick and to the Point: There's no other point but excellence in this breath of fresh jazz.
Devoid of bleariness, even when experienced as a placid stroll, Changing Places has accordionesque pianistic motifs and intermittently tango-sizing musical discreetnessas conceived and performed on the highlight, "Graceful Touch." On this tune, melodically strong sinuous sensuality and corresponding harmonic chord changes seduce one's neural biochemistry, giving rise to what we know as sheer pleasure. It reeks of stone-filtered Mediterranean, Iberian, and Argentine sensual darkness, also experienced in "Where Breathing Starts." Yet pianist Tord Gustavsen and his trio finger in European classicistic jazzisms as well as various music Americana lighthouses such as blues, bop, and swing.
Talk of influences, when not outright imitative, is a somewhat illusory pursuit that can lead one's concentration away from the larger, richer and wider vista afforded by this sort of jazz trio. The flow and tempo of this group's acoustic performances is leisurely. Unsullied higher taste characterizes interchanges featuring advanced harmonics and melodicism stemming from musicians who effect much with much that seems little by comparison to most extant jazz trio playing.
In many ways, this recording is about the oft-overlooked importance and possibilities of dynamics in musical performance, jazz per se notwithstanding. Drummer, pianist and bassist all enjoy a fine touch, rooted energy, attractive tone, depth and prudent technical prowess. "IGN," one of the more energetic tunes, features more from the guiding and enthralling hands of Tord Gustavsen, the leader of this all-Norwegian group.
Changing Places is one of the best recordings of 2003. This trio issues forth great depth, finesse and beauty.
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Personnel: Tord Gustavsen: piano; Harald Johnsen: double-bass; Jarle Vespestad: drums.