Recorded at Oslo’s Rainbow Studio in January 2018, this is Gustavsen’s eighth album. It is also his return to a trio form after a number of albums that the Norwegian pianist made with quartets. Joining him on this occasion are drummer Jarle Vespestad his long musical partner who helped to cement the Gustavson sound, and bass player Sigurd Hole.
Tord Gustavsen’s fans will be delighted with this album, and those who discover him for the first time could not ask for a better introduction.
The Other Sideis reminiscent of his formative albums The Groundand Being There. But while his phrasing and style has been maintained some of the tango and flamenco themes that were evident in the music of his second and third albums has made way for themes that are more related to Nordic folk and religious hymns.
The album consists of 11 short pieces (the longest is just over six minutes). The rich sound that has been his hallmark with mighty drum, bass and a slight reverb, is a reminder of his earlier tiro albums, and like them this is an album that MUST be heard on a decent sound system to be fully appreciated. Auditioning on a mobile device or while in a car will not reveal the layers of sound and the brilliance of the playing. It is made up of contemplative and rhythmic tracks in equal amounts. It hovers between jazz and classical but is neither. It creates instrumental themes of immense size and intimacy all at the same time. An uncommon feast for the ears.
The Other Side is immense and is exceedingly highly recommended, I suggest you preview it on YouTube and then rush to buy tickets for the trio’s appearance during their visit to the UK as part of the London Jazz Festival in November. Consider this album a must have.