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Tord Gustavsen


Release Date: April 8, 2022

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1 The Circle  
2 Findings - Visa fran Rattvik  
3 Opening  
4 The Longing  
5 Shepherd Song  
6 Helensburgh Tango  
7 Re-Opening  
8 Findings II  
9 Stream  
10 Ritual  
11 Floytelat - The Flute  
12 Var sterk, min sjel  
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Tord Gustavsen’s album Opening develops the traits and styles explored on his earlier works, while introducing a broader spectrum of suppleness and a transformed sense of interplay to the trio’s repertory. It is the first Gustavsen Trio recording with Steinar Raknes on bass and the newcomer feels quite at home supporting his colleagues in the deep end, settling in quickly between Tord’s refined chordal studies and Jarle Vespestad’s delicate stick- and brushwork.

There’s a particularly striking openness to the music, marked by spacious improvisations and a tendency to reveal the secrets and melodies at their own pace. “The urge for saying something, be it abstract or lyrical, has to come from within,” Tord reasons. “During the recording of the album it felt better to do the breathing first, open up the soundscape in more organic ways and let the melody enter when it comes naturally.“

Multiple causes may account for the shift in temperament on Opening – the change in lineup certainly being one of them. Bassist Steinar Raknes establishes a firm counterpoint in the music. “He’s an extroverted bass player, who likes to take center stage, while also being an incredibly supportive and humble accompanist, so he moves very swiftly between background, collective and soloist roles.” An ideal counterbalance to the variable basslines, Jarle’s percussive rumination acts as a mediator, guiding his fellow musicians through alternating straight-ahead and rubato passages.

Here more than ever Tord dwells on minuscule fragments, brief chord chains and scarce hints of motifs, developing the material patiently: “It’s something I’ve been doing a lot in solo concerts. Having themes just appear out of the dark and disappearing back into a shady undercurrent…”

In a way picking up where the prior trio album The Other Side left off, album-opening „The Circle“ presents a hymnal refrain, fashioned with a humble design. “I was sitting at the piano and the first four bars just came to me. I worked out and developed the remaining structure deliberately, but more and more I find that the best tunes I’ve written over the years basically just came to me, like gifts. I then have the responsibility to shape the gift, make it grow and turn it into a complete piece”.

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