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Gustavsen Tord

Two years after “Restored, Returned” introduced this line-up and with extensive touring behind them, on “The Well” the four musicians of the Gustavsen Quartet really blossom as a band in a programme of new tunes by Tord. Sax player Tore Brunborg is given an important voice here, his melodic lines combining bluesy sonority and Nordic cry. Gently but effectively propelled by the subtle pulses of drummer Jarle Vespestad and bassist Mats Eilertsen, Gustavsen’s gospel-tinged, unhurried piano playing displays a characteristic warmth and tenderness.


I’ll be frank and call this a return to form after the, err, courageous (minister?) vocal minimalism of Restored, Returned. That singer/poet lady has been banished to whence she came (ECM’s rising tenor star Tore Brunborg stays, all breathy and sultry) so we now have a quintet. Tord remains blessed with an apparently infinite collection of melodies that shouldn’t work but do lodge themselves. As you might expect, this is mood music first and foremost, and there are occasions when I wanted to kick the drummer in the pants to get them moving, but there’s always another cinematic melody or three around the corner to beg, nay demand, your Nordic forgiveness. Alright, I admit it’s lovely.

Richard Mohr is a friend of Readings

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