Tord Gustavsen Trio

Record Review

Phases and Stages

Tord Gustavsen TrioChanging Places (ECM) From the ever-so-gentle musings of "Deep as Love," the opener on Tord Gustavsen's breathtaking debut, the Norwegian pianist/composer casts a disarming spell with his subtle grace and delicate beauty. It's easy to just surrender and float away on the music's wistful elegance, as Gustavsen has created a peaceful space far away from the tumult of our bustling lives. The pianist joins a long list of Scandinavian musicians, who for more than 30 years have created the pristine and stylized "Nordic" ambience that has largely defined the ECM sound. Contrary to the cold, austere character that's drawn criticism of the label over the years, Gustavsen exudes a flickering warmth and intimacy. Much of his experience has come as an accompanist for singers like Silje Nergaard, which may account for the strong melodic sense heard throughout the session. In particular, appropriately titled originals such as "Graceful Touch" and "Melted Matter" are simply haunting. Because of the music's endearing quietude, it's easy to overlook the contributions of Gustavsen's flexible rhythm section, bassist Harald Johnsen and drummer Jarle Vespestad. In an almost invisible fashion, they create shifting undercurrents that are more pulsations than drive. Only toward the end of the slow-rising "Ign" do they pick up enough steam to approximate what we might consider standard jazz time. No, you wouldn't characterize this as a party album, unless, of course, you were having the most intimate of celebrations.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Fall Platters
Jeff Lofton
Jericho (Record Review)

Michael Toland, Nov. 29, 2019

Texas Platters
Golden Dawn Arkestra
Darkness Falls on the Edge of Time (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Sept. 20, 2019

More by Jay Trachtenberg
Top Books of 2020 That Struck a Literary or Musical Chord
Top Books of 2020 That Struck a Literary or Musical Chord
A writer's fictional joyride, a rock & roll memoir, and jazz fairy tales are books that sang this year

Dec. 18, 2020

New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
What we’re listening to

Dec. 18, 2020

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle