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The Ground by Tord Gustavsen Trio

Pianist Tord Gustavsen’s second release for ECM Records consists of more intricacies atop prodding rhythms, featuring drummer Jarle Vespestad’s crisp cymbal work and bassist Harald Johnsen’s harmonically inclined bass lines. And in most instances the trio is in no great rush to get anywhere. It’s more about gradually enacted crescendos and various ways to tell a story on pieces such as "Twins," and elsewhere.

The rhythm section occasionally executes swaggering backbeats as Gustavsen glides across the top by using space to drive home his often, probing lyricism and radiantly conveyed improvisations. The band works through a walking blues motif on "Edges of Happiness," while imparting a casual gait, spiked with bittersweet balladry during "The Ground." With the latter piece, Gustavsen raises the overall pitch during the bridge and eases it all down for the coda. In sum, it’s a pleasant listening experience that sort of typifies the somewhat legendary ECM recording aesthetic, where a nearly hidden classical music aura underscores the jazz element.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Tord Gustavsen Trio
  • CD Title: The Ground
  • Genre: Progressive
  • Year Released: 2005
  • Record Label: ECM Records
  • Musicians: Tord Gustavsen (piano), Harald Johnsen (double-bass), Jarle Vespestad (drums)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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