Tord Gustavsen Trio, Opening Review
Tord Gustavsen Trio has released their ECM Records album Opening. The trio presents a set of Gustavsen originals along with Scandinavian folk melodies. The lineup is Gustavsen on piano, drummer Jarle Vespestad, and for the first time on a Gustavsen album, bassist Steinar Raknes. The album has a definite ECM aesthetic as the music is ethereal and has moments of calm atmosphere perspective. Still, regardless of the texture, the depth of the trio’s communication yields a powerful listening experience.
Gustavsen’s originals are thought-out vehicles for the trio to communicate and are adorned with singable melodies. The peaceful space of the opening track, “The Circle,” allows us to easily hear the interaction between the three performers. The title track also has the before mentioned qualities.
“Shepherd Song” and “Helensburgh Tango” have a more vibrant energy while still maintaining the low-key vibe of the album. Gustavsen’s touch on the piano matches the song’s character and energy. His melodic ideas are also very fluid and lyrical. Raknes’ bass playing adds to the album; listen to his bass tone and coloration on “Helensburgh Tango.”
The evocative melodies and improvisations of “Re-Opening’ and “Findings III” display the chemistry between Vespestad and Gustavsen. Raknes fits into their communication as he contributes equally to the atmosphere of the songs and overall album.
The trio’s interpretation of Geirr Tveitt’s “Fløytelåt” (The Flute) and Egil Hovland’s “Vær sterk, min sjel” is beautiful and the later selection is my favorite moment on the album. The three create a space of elegance that moves between emotions and colors with purpose through attentive listening.
Opening is a fine piano lead trio album that brings the ECM sound to beautiful landscapes with the trio’s careful listening and shared chemistry. The lyrical melodies and varied textures give Tord Gustavsen’s Opening an exceptional sound that jazz fans will undoubtedly want to explore and experience. That’s the short of it!
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April 8, 2022
ECM Records GmbH