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  • Writer's pictureJazzLover

"Changing Places" by Tord Gustavsen Trio

Updated: Jul 29, 2023



This is a noteworthy 5-Star debut that meets and exceeds expectations, particularly in the niche of jazz piano trios that ECM Records has carved out over the years. The album is eloquent and persuasive, while remaining soft-spoken and delicate, offering no shocking surprises but rather a consistent quality of performance that should make the Trio proud​​.


Gustavsen's sound is rootsy, relying more on implication than direct articulation. This means that even relatively simple melodies carry more weight than their minimalistic structure might suggest. Gustavsen has a knack for emphasizing folk traditions, drawing from diverse sources such as gospel and Nordic music. In tracks such as "Graceful Touch" and "Where Breathing Starts" a recurrent tango theme lends a degree of accessible drama to the otherwise soft pieces​​.


Gustavsen also demonstrates a strong understanding of the more sophisticated aspects of the jazz tradition, employing modern jazz tools without drawing unnecessary attention to them. The interaction among the trio's members is noteworthy, with bassist Harald Johnsen's debut showcasing a rare kind of intuition that allows the bottom end to become melody and harmony. This liberates Gustavsen to pursue his muse without any fixed responsibilities​.


Drummer Jarle Vespestad, known for his work with the open-ended electro-jazz group Supersilent, displays a light but crisp touch. While he's constantly interacting with the other members of the trio, he seems less interested in stretching the roles of his instrument, perhaps serving as a grounding force for the group​​.


Tord Gustavsen Trio "Changing Places"

"Changing Places" might not be a landmark addition to the ECM piano trio catalog for seasoned listeners, but it's hard to deny the sophistication of the Trio's music. The album is a testament to the fact that there are countless jazz players who would give a lot to be able to create music with such a degree of sophistication​​. If you like the genre, this is a must listen. A true gem of an album.


Enjoy and let us know how you feel !


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