Tord Gustavsen's Quartet captures the essence of the popular adage with an expansive work emphasizing the vast spatial context in a setting characterized with the subtle warmth of Gustavsen's methodical yet evocative lyrical work at the piano.
"Playing" finds Gustavsen moving gently forward in a precise fashion while the piece seems to develop all most on its own. Shifting harmonics create a lyrical dynamic tension and a very zen like "less is more" begins to allow the listener to chart their own musical course. Nothing is hurried. Musical direction with subtly and an indefinable beauty of natural ebb and flow. "Communion" is beautiful piece carrying the double meaning of the liturgical sense of the sacrament of Communion and the intimate nature and closeness of creating within a band. Herein lies the success of The Well, a personal link to Gustavsen through his link to church music which is immediately transferred to Brunborg and the quartet. A slight intoxicating gospel infusion slowly creeps in and begins to permeate the tune with the honesty and simplicity of a beautiful melody.
"Circling" is another tune with a very minimalist yet emotional gospel energy that is a rare combination of solid musical roots with an earthy freedom of movement within the piece. Shifting harmonics highlight a dense yet bold sonic color palette from which Gustavsen plays. A noticeably darker sound but rich and vibrant that never allows Gustavsen to overplay the music. Compositional twists and turns, sonic side roads that while inventive never take one too far off the path and to the land of the musical self indulgent. Brunborg's performance on "On Every Corner" is gripping. A sharp melodic sense of direction allows Brunborg to play what is lyrical necessary as a vocalist would sing and in perfect harmonious union with Gustavsen.
A three dimensional lyrical depth of field highlighted with an emotional subtly that is intoxicating.
A 5 Star release as all the stars were in perfect alignment with the development of The Well.
Tracks: Prelude; Playing; Suite; Communion; Circling; Glasgow Intro; On Every Corner; The Well; Communion, Var.; Intuition; Inside.
Personnel: Tore Brunborg: tenor saxophone; Tord Gustavsen: piano; Mats Eilertsen: double-bass; Jarle Vespestad: drums.