Critics - English translations and originals

About Being There:

  • "Pianist/composer Tord Gustavsen and his collaborators .. have created a dozen contemplative wonders.. A fascinating interplay between abstraction and gospel roots" (Billboard Magazine, USA)

  • "Gustavsen's tunes are hypnotically strong, and the integration of bass and drums in his regular trio is total. .. in the beautiful near-motionless tunes of the trio-standby At Home, or the 'wordless hymn' Draw Near, through the funkily Jarrett-like Blessed Feet, the sleepwalking slow-gospel of Still There and the almost-urgent insistence of the Spanish-tinged Where We Went, it's possible for even hardcore jazzers to get the point about Tord Gustavsen. This one just did." (John Fordham - The Guardian, UK - * * * * - read the entire review)

  • "A trilogy [that] could be the most essential jazz document of the last ten year. Sublime." (Phil Johnson, Independent on Sunday, UK - * * * * *)
       Complete review: "This is the final part of a trilogy of piano trio albums that began with 'Changing Places' and continued with 'The Ground', the whole comprising what could be the most essential jazz document of the last ten years. 'Being There' keeps to a similar feel: slow, limpid, ballads and "wordless hymns" where a sense of stillness, and a strong spiritual quality, are always present, however much the music rocks on its heels through gospel-influenced chording. The opener, 'At Home', is an absolute marvel; a gently drifting bolero with a subtle funk-undercurrent. Because the music actually sounds nice, it's possible to write Gustavsen off as an ambient noodler. But this is the chill-out as a state of grace, and it can go as deep as you like. Sublime."

  • "It is music that speaks to the heart. The trio define themselves as a collective voice, and years of playing together bring a depth and shared understanding to their collective goals. This, the third CD of a trilogy, brings more richness and meaning to their vision." (Stuart Nicholson, Jazzwise, UK)

  • "It's a trio unique in jazz, blending the distinctions between chamber jazz, classical and pastoral music as it creates some of the most moving sounds to be heard today." (Limelight, Australia - * * * * *)

  • "Wonderful .. They seduce the listener with their majestically restrained power .. The more you listen to the Spanish-influenced Where We Went, the more you realise how strong and hypnotic those tunes really are." (Kieran Bohane, Irish Examiner, Ireland)

  • "No-one explores a musical note in quite as much detail as the Tord Gustavsen Trio." (Blues & Soul, UK)

  • "Gustavsen's touch is exquisite and his focus incredible. You'll find yourself eased into a thoroughly uplifted sate of mind." (HMV Choice, UK)

  • "The third album by this unassuming und unexpectedly successful Nordic trio hovers serenely between EST and Keith Jarrett. .. Party animals should stay well clear, but others will find the cool clear themes of Being There highly seductive." (John Bungey, The Times, UK - * * * *)

  • "Despite its restraint and the complete absence of rhetorical flourish, the music manages to be both probing and fresh, and retains a sense of rightness and inevitability. Freedom and form are continuously held in balance." (Ray Comiskey, Irish Times - * * * * * - CD of the week May 18th 2007)

  • "It takes a few songs to unthaw the soul-stirring juices of Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen. But be prepared to be converted when it happens. The cat can play. Hanging with double bassist Harald Johnsen and drummer Jarle Vespestad, Gustavsen finds some funk in 'Blessed Feet' that is exotically different from the U.S.-centric sense of that term. Gustavsen .. cooks by a blue Scandinavian flame. He courts a melody, swings it quietly, and still makes it sizzle. .. Gustavsen develops a tune the way wine ferments. It takes time, and it occurs molecule by molecule in a kind of high trance." (Karl Stark, Philadelphia Inquirer, USA)

  • "His music is about subtlety and nuance, about drawing the listener in to a state of intense concentration and about the creation of sensual beauty. .. Sit down somewhere quiet and listen to the opening track, At Home. Give it your undivided attention from beginning to end – it’s not difficult because in their quiet way these musicians are absolutely compelling – and if you don’t feel like a different and emotionally richer person at the end of it, I would be very surprised. .. Gustavsen has found and is developing a very personal and unique voice in jazz – one where piano-player and composer are indivisible, one where elements of musical styles from both America and Europe are mixed in a fresh way, one where the intention is not to show off but to share some art and beauty with their audience." (Peter Bacon, Birmingham Post)

  • "As the third member of the triptych, Being There closes the circle and provides a solid platform for the future. .. [T]he tunes on the three CDs can be considered a repertoire that references centeredness, joy-of-life, breathing and contemplation. .. The essence of Gustavsen's art is the combination of mystical romanticism and intellectual steeliness that creates tension by playing on the edges of musical styles, harmony and form. .. Just as Gustavsen can play the same note countless ways, Being There has countless layers, which is what makes it a great CD instead of just a good one." (Budd Koppman, All About Jazz - read the entire review)

  • "The new album contains all the hallmarks of their distinctive style - hymn-like melodies weaving through subtle and intricate harmonic structures, and spacious compositions that unfold in delicate and unhurried fashion. .. Every nuance of the music has significance, and is given full weight, while Vespestad's subtle and highly musical drumming assumes greater prominence within the trio's characteristic crystalline purity of sound and refined interplay." (The Scotsman, UK - * * * *)

  • "Each note has weight and consideration. .. Subtlety and richness .. If you give it the time it deserves, you'll be really richly rewarded. .. It invites contemplation and creates a mood of quiet introspection. .. Exquisite listening." (Jessica Nicholson, radio review from 'The Music Show' on ABC Radio, Australia)

  • "The Norwegian pianist's third album luxuriates in more of that spacious, softly contoured, unashamedly romantic jazz .. Being There is not just a carbon copy of its predecessors, however. Where they were kept on a tight dynamic leash, this one brings a nudge more of the drama implicit in the trio's concerts to the surface, moving the music further away from an ambient tag. .. Gustavsen has a beautiful touch and a facility far beyond the needs of his own compositions. Vespestad again exhibits almost freakish control, his drums and cymbals wearing a halo of reverberation." (John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia)

  • "Like an ever-expanding series of concentric circles, Gustavsen, bassist Harald Johnsen and drummer Jarle Vesperstad have evolved their approach .. It is .. their keen attention to space, dynamic and tempo that speaks so powerfully. .. Consistently beautiful while evocatively resonant on a larger scale, Being There finds the trio continuing to develop its distinctive aesthetic, where the spaces between the notes have equal value to the notes themselves." (John Kelman, All About Jazz - read the entire review)

  • "It's a very intimate listening experience, as if observing the music crystallizing in mid-air. Though Gustavsen does lend his name to this trio, special credit must be given to the stellar kit work of Jarle Vespestad. His incredibly subtle and melodic constructs perfectly link together and complement the piano and Johnsen's bass. One listen through Being There and Vespestad landed on my Paul Motian-headed list of favorite jazz drummers." (Mark Saleski, Blogcritics Magazine - read the entire review)

  • "The concept of meditation is a good one to explain the work of Gustavsen and his trio mates: their playing becomes like following one’s breath. Thoughts and ideas float by like clouds against a blue sky that is always there. .. It’s a daunting task to remain fully engaged enough to play this music, and it demonstrates the incredible skill of these musicians, rendering any overt show of virtuosity unnecessary. (Jazzitude - read the entire review)

  • "The perfectly melded exchanges of piano, bass and drums are layered sounds, abstract, posing questions more than answering them, and deeply impressionistic—a graceful unfolding of pensive ruminations. The music is enigmatic and sublime, equally suited for watching clouds drift by on a summer day or the embers glow in a winter fire. Like pebbles thrown in a pond, the ripples of piano and rhythm arc outward over and into one another in ever expanding circles yet still leave plenty of space for the fourth member of the trio: silence." (Reno News and Review - read the entire review)

  • "At its heart, Being There is an album of very carefully constructed songs, where improvisation is part of a context -- its part in the entirety of the shape, texture, and dimension is argued delicately yet authoritatively, where close listening is of the essence by each player. The longest of these 13 pieces is only a shade over six minutes, and most fall between four and five minutes. For a recording that unveils itself so gracefully, there is true heft in its presentation. As hinted at on Tord Gustavsen's earlier ECM dates, Being There is the fruit of labor meticulously crafted and dutifully harvested. It is an album of secrets echoed, and questions that are fathomlessly deep; it invites the listener in cleanly, without seduction, and argues for full participation in its revelations." ( - read the entire review)

  • "Saturated with deep emotions and at the same time Nordic melancholy .. on one side sophisticated and on the other very accessible." (Infomusic, Poland - read the entire review in Polish)

  • "Tord Gustavsen Trio is a three-head-organism with just one lung. Just listen how the musicians cooperate with each other on the fragments of 'Blessed Feet' in Keith Jarrett style (phenomenal playing of Vespestad). Everything happens there on one breath, but the tunes give an impression of as well ballad improvisations as fully integrated compositions." (Kulturaonline, Poland - read the entire article in Polish)

  • "Tord Gustavsen Trio's finest cd so far." (Dagbladet, Norway - 6 of 6 stars)

  • "Music you can dwell in. The third album is a triumph for an exceptional band." (Dagsavisen, Norway)

  • "These three albums are some of the very best music amongst the thousands of CDs I have .. Tord Gustavsen's trilogy now completed with 'Being There' is a 21st century work of art that will - beyond doubt - stand the test of time" (Living With Music - read the entire review)