Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Tord Gustavsen, What was Said, with Simin Tander and Jarie Vespestad

Tord Gustavsen brings us a series of original songs, arranged Norwegian folk tunes and other related material in a haunting trio context on What Was Said (ECM 2465, available as CD or three-sided LP). It is music with a beautiful ambiance, foregrounded by the moody vocals of German-Afghan singer Simin Tander, who interprets the songs in a special way and also functions in the ensemble with supplementary sung parts. Tord does the arrangements, plays an evocative piano with room for improvisatory-atmospheric brilliance, and adds at key points very atmospheric electronics and synth bass. Jarie Vespestad gives us a very well-considered drumming-percussing that adds much to the overall floating introspection of the set.

One must hear this music to grasp fully its whimsical, reflective-gentle power. The arrangements set the scene dramatically with a spacious, unhurried walk through the poetic song material and its ultimate presence and transcendence-appearance into the special arranged-improvised trio world Tord creates.

Simin gives us as well nicely sung improvisational lines that go well with Tord's approach. She at all times phrases beautifully with sotto voce, inner-directed spirit and vocal quietude-dynamics that mark her as original and delightful to hear.

It is a gorgeous album that will have its way with your listening mood if you but let it go its way without imposing a lot of expectations. In the end it is exemplary ECM spacious jazz-folk-ambiance that runs with some of the ambient classics the label has produced but then stamps its vivid personality onto your listening self thanks to the special approach Tord gives it all and he, Simin and Jarie realize with singular success.

This will put you in a special place! Excellent.

The trio is on tour in the US and Canada this June and early July: June 16 in San Francisco, June 17 Minneapolis, June 18 New York, June 20 Philadelphia, June 29 Vancouver Jazz Fest, July 1 Rochester NY Jazz Fest, July 3 Montreal Jazz Fest. Check the net for details.

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