Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

648

Tord Gustavsen Ensemble: Restored, Returned

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
With three albums mining a seemingly narrow area—and proving just how broad that territory really—Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen changes gears with Restored, Returned. Abandoning the longstanding trio that, with Changing Places (ECM, 2003), The Ground (ECM, 2005), and Being There (ECM, 2007), brought him greater international acclaim, Restored's quintet remains relatively introspective in tone. Still, with singer Kristin Asbjørnsen and saxophonist Tore Brunborg—whose recent Lucid Grey (DRAVLE, 2009) received its own share of well-deserved attention—Gustavsen's palette is expanded, allowing him to more fully realize the song-like proclivity that's been at the core of much of his writing.

Gustavsen—who, as musical director for singer Silje Nergaard, is no stranger to working with vocalists—plays on Asbjørnsen's The Night Shines Like the Day (Universal Norway, 2009), and has also been touring with her, including an engaging performance at Molde Jazz 2009. The two also collaborated on Nymark Collective's imaginative reworking, Bessie Smith Revisited (Independent, 2008), making the singer's rich expressiveness—incorporating the occasional grit but never, despite soaring luminously, resorting to excessive vocal pyrotechnics to impress—not just well-suited to Gustavsen's writing, but possessed of a deeper internal connection.

Drummer Jarle Vespestad is back from Gustavsen's trio, but instead of Harald Johnsen, Gustavsen has recruited Nymark bassist/co-founder Mats Eilertsen, no stranger to those familiar with guitarist Jacob Young's sublime Evening Falls (ECM, 2004) or drummer Thomas Strønen's more overtly adventurous Parish (ECM, 2006). Vespestad still demonstrates an uncanny ability to play at a near-whisper, but has the opportunity to play more forcefully on the title track, which moves from the gently intensifying pedal tone of its intro to a more propulsive reference to Gustavsen's longstanding gospel interests (and Asbjørnsen's; her own Wayfaring Stranger (Universal Norway, 2006) was a vital look at American spirituals). "The Swirl / Wrapped in Yielding Air" explores Middle Eastern harmony but ultimately shifts, with a deep groove propelled by Eilertsen's visceral tone and Vespestad's gentle but insistent pulse, towards bluesy territory, with Asbjørnsen's expressive yet restrained delivery one of the album's high points.

Brunborg—another ECM alum dating back to Masqualero's three albums, with bassist Arild Andersen, drummer Jon Christensen, and trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer—shines throughout with an approach that stems unmistakably from the traditionalist leanings of Jan Garbarek, but brings greater warmth and a personal lyricism to "The Child Within," a spare, melodic duet with Gustavsen that opens Restored.

Gustavsen continues to be a marvel of economical invention, a player who speaks little but says much. Restored, Returned is a logical extension/expansion on his previous ECM releases, as his nuanced, tender playing eschews stereotypical references to Norwegian music as icy or cool, even as "The Way In" cinematically traverses imaginary bodies of water explored regularly by pianist Ketil Bjornstad. But with more colors at his disposal and a greater attention to song form—even as the result feels somehow freer—Gustavsen has shaped an album even more appealing in its subtle but unmistakable experimentation.

Track Listing: The Child Within; Way In; Lay Your Sleeping Head, My Love; Spiral Song; Restored, Returned; Left Over Lullaby No. 2; The Swirl / Wrapped in Yielding Air; Left Over Lullaby No. 1 / O Stand, Stand At The Window; Your Crooked Heart; The Gaze; Left Over Lullaby No. 3.

Personnel: Tord Gustavsen: piano; Tore Brunborg: tenor saxophone (4-8, 10), soprano saxophones (1) ; Kristin Asbjørnsen: vocals (3-8, 11); Mats Eilertsen: double-bass (2-10); Jarle Vespestad: drums (2-10).

Title: Restored, Returned | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: ECM Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Alleviation CD/LP/Track Review Alleviation
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 18, 2017
Read Last Minute Panic CD/LP/Track Review Last Minute Panic
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 18, 2017
Read Murphy CD/LP/Track Review Murphy
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 18, 2017
Read Haberdashery CD/LP/Track Review Haberdashery
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 18, 2017
Read Song of the Silver Geese CD/LP/Track Review Song of the Silver Geese
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 18, 2017
Read Live at Kolarac CD/LP/Track Review Live at Kolarac
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 18, 2017
Read "Morphometry" CD/LP/Track Review Morphometry
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 29, 2017
Read "Introducing...Rubén González" CD/LP/Track Review Introducing...Rubén González
by James Nadal
Published: June 16, 2017
Read "Bring Joy" CD/LP/Track Review Bring Joy
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 4, 2017
Read "Nightfall" CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: October 11, 2017
Read "Hudson" CD/LP/Track Review Hudson
by Doug Collette
Published: June 14, 2017
Read "Masters In Bordeaux" CD/LP/Track Review Masters In Bordeaux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 19, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!