7

Tord Gustavsen Quartet: Extended Circle

Geannine Reid By

Sign in to view read count
Tord Gustavsen Quartet: Extended Circle Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen continues to evolve the amalgamation of classical, pop and jazz languages into a cohesive modern jazz sound. Gustavsen has released six albums on ECM Records with his ensemble and trio; Changing Places (2003), The Ground (2005), Being There (2007), Restored, Returned (2009), The Well (2012) and Extended Circle (2014). Gustavsen has won the Norwegian Grammy Awards (Spellemannsprisen) and numerous other awards and prizes. Gustavsen spent many years focusing on the piano trio format, but since 2011, the quartet has been Gustavsen's major touring ensemble of choice.

Gustavsen has become known for his ability to relate the sounds and shapes of Scandinavian folk music, gospel, Caribbean music and cool jazz. This unique approach brings a new angle of beauty to the jazz community that focuses on merging the jazz history with Nordic contemplative moods and open lyrical melodies. Extended Circle continues this evolution and features saxophonist Tore Brunborg, bassist Mats Eilertsen, as well as longstanding drummer Jarle Vespestad.

The quartet has been solidifying its group sound through recording and regular touring, specializing in music that is unhurried, subtle and developed in a meditative manner. The music on this offering unfolds as developments of melodic fragments that are manipulated and developed by the quartet into cohesive and flowing arches of musical statements. "Eg Veit I Himmerik El Borg" (Castle in the Sky), a traditional Norwegian hymn, begins with Gustavsen lightly stating a melody that establishes a minor mode over Eilertsen's pedal tone and Vespestad's drum commentary. As Gustavsen switches to chords for the B section, Eilertsen and Vespestad continue to develop the straight-eighth feel. Gustavsen continues to develop the melody with ornaments as the groove underneath him evolves in intensity and activity. Brunborg quietly enters just before the midway point to elevate the sound further. Brunborg and Gustavsen begin a series of beautiful call and response phrases that build the music to the songs climax, Brunborg's playing eventually states the melody in the upper register of his saxophone with just the right amount of intensity and grit to yield an emotional response as Gustavsen's rumbling chords follow the phrases, building to the release and a logical cadence, closing the musical arch.

Two versions of "Entrance" appear on the CD and are collective spontaneous compositions that reveal the quartet's intense listening skills and ability to give shape to free improvisation; even if there is no defined form, the quartet creates a mood and structural unit that develops and forms a quality musical statement. Gustavsen's compositions are sparse melodic statements that are revealed in their subtleties. "The Gift" is a slow tempo melody that finds its way through a series of beautiful chordal changes and tonalities. Eilertsen's counterpoint to Gustavsen's playing is excellent, supporting the harmony when needed and giving motion to the melodic flow at just the right moments.

Extended Circle has a suite-like program that is very musically fulfilling; Gustavsen's concept of gradually expanding musical statements that stay true to a primary theme of contemplative moods and open lyrical melodies is the success of the project and well worth the listen.

Track Listing: Right There; Eg Veit I Himmerik El Borg; Entrance; The Gift; Staying There; Silent Spaces; Entrance, var.; Devotion; The Embrace; Bass Transition; Glow; The Prodigal Song.

Personnel: Tore Brunborg: tenor saxophone; Tord Gustavsen: piano; Mats Eilertsen:double bass; Jarle Vespestad: drums.

Title: Extended Circle | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: ECM Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Soundscapes" CD/LP/Track Review Soundscapes
by Jim Olin
Published: July 25, 2016
Read "Small World" CD/LP/Track Review Small World
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Mist. Moss. Home." CD/LP/Track Review Mist. Moss. Home.
by Jim Olin
Published: April 10, 2017
Read "Ephimeral" CD/LP/Track Review Ephimeral
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 28, 2017
Read "Aram Bajakian's Dolphy Formations" CD/LP/Track Review Aram Bajakian's Dolphy Formations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 28, 2016
Read "Choice" CD/LP/Track Review Choice
by Dave Wayne
Published: October 7, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.