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Tord Gustavsen Quartet begins summer touring season

By Tomas Lauvland Pettersen Posted: 30. May, 2014

Touring action on both sides of the Atlantic in June for the Tord Gustavsen Quartet.

Building on the success of their latest outing, ‘Extended Circle’ (ECM), the Tord Gustavsen Quartet prepare for a busy June with concerts on both sides of the Atlantic.

Full details on all live dates and venue info for Tord Gustavsen Quartet’s June gigs HERE.

European live dates in Germany, Austria and France are followed by a late June appearance at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal.

The sixth ECM album from Tord Gustavsen, recorded in Oslo in June 2013, quietly but most assuredly takes the pianist’s music to the next stage of its development. Gustavsen’s quartet with Tore Brunborg, Mats Eilertsen and long-term associate Jarle Vespestad has matured into a group whose interactions draw strength from restraint, patiently building the music toward its climaxes. Here are new gospel-tinged pieces and ballads from Tord’s pen, gentle and luminescent group improvisations, and an ecstatic interpretation of the Norwegian traditional “Eg Veit I Himmerik Ei Borg” (“I Know A Castle In Heaven”).

The repertoire of ‘Extended Circle’, which constitutes the majority of the quartet’s June live repertoire, incorporates tunes inspired by chorales and spirituals. These were developed collectively and gradually integrated into the repertoire as the group toured in the wake of The Well. “The new album title also refers to the view of things not being linear,” says Gustavsen. “The modernistic notion of linear progress is dead… But still we want to move in creative circles or spirals, coming back to musical and spiritual issues from ever-new angles, developing the musical approach or ideology with – hopefully – a deeper insight, a deeper set of experiences and skills.”

Extended Circle’ review excerpts:
Since its release in January, ‘Extended Circle’ has garnered a string of favorable reviews abroad. A round up of some recent reviews of ‘Extended Circle’:

“.. a delicious collage of hypnotic grooving, softly stroked gospel themes, and perhaps more gloves-off jazz piano from the leader than on all five of his previous ECM albums.” (John Fordam, The Guardian, UK – read the entire review)
“Extended Circle is certainly a satisfying synthesis of his quiet and stately, Nordic-hymn-meets-mildly-funkygroove style, as well as suggesting possible new beginnings. Meditative and swinging in turns, the 12 pieces feel like one extended suite, while the best of the group’s playing recalls, as on “The Gift”, Keith Jarrett and Jan Garbarek’s 1978 album on the ECM label My Song. Which is no mean praise.” (Phil Johnson, The Independent, UK)

And while Gustavsen has always been about slow tempos, the quartet’s interpretation of the traditional Norwegian hymn, “Eg Veit I Himmerik El Borg” (A Castle in Heaven) demonstrates that simmering heat is not beyond its reach. Vespestad’s gentle but frenetic drumming and Eilertsen’s soft but insistent support provide a foundation over which Gustavsen’s meditative ruminations float initially, but gradually pick up steam over the course of five minutes, as Brunborg’s tenor building from a whisper to a scream before returning to the hymn’s singable theme.
All of which makes Extended Circle’s suite-like 50-minute program Gustavsen’s most diverse and satisfying to date. There’s no danger of the pianist losing the pensive patience that defines so much of his work, but as his career has progressed so, too, has Gustavsen concentrically expanded his purview. His initial concept may remain at the core of a gradually expanding series of stylistic circles that stay true to his core aesthetic, but the evolution Expanded Circle demonstrates is equally the inevitable consequence of regular recording and touring with this group of hyper-talented musicians.”
(Allaboutjazz.com, John Kelman)

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