Around the World: Norway’s Tord Gustavsen

25 Apr

Tord Gustavsen Trio: The Ground

Tord Gustavsen Trio's 2004 album The Ground

There may be few more scholarly pianists than Norway’s Tord Gustavsen — he graduated from the University of Oslo with a degree in humanist and social studies and his thesis was titled “The Dialectical Erotism of Improvisation.” It’s available in the original Norwegian from his website, if you’re so inclined.

His music is just as impressive and easier to enjoy; it’s a beautiful sound which draws on his religious and spiritual background, although Gustavsen is quick to point out its Carribean and early jazz roots, too. One of his very first CDs was putting the words of the poet John Donne to music, which he did with vocalist Siri Gjaere on Aire and Angels.

He then formed his own trio, and has now expanded it to an ensemble on his most recent album.

Gustavsen from his website tordgo.no: “Taken together, the bands and projects represent my quest for a deepening of my own playing, in a dual movement that goes towards getting more and more intimate with the history of jazz  . . . This dual task is extremely challenging. It is one that can never be accomplished with completion. But it offers a constant flow of possibilities for emotional-intellectual fulfillment in grooves, phrasing, melodies and timbre. And when the music is really happening, I feel privileged to be able to contribute something.”

Listen to the link below to Being There off his 2004 album The Ground, and you’ll likely feel just as privileged to listen.

Next Monday: Sweden

Sources: tordgustavsen.com, tordgo.com, pbs.org, wbur.org

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