Critics - English translations and originals

About Restored, Returned:

  • “The Nordic master of less-is-more piano … In various combinations, the players conjure a spare beauty from lullabies, hymns and ballads. It’s a distinct shift in the Gustavsen soundworld, but he’s still creating slow music that smoulders brightly.” (John Bungey, Times Online, UK - 4 of 5 stars)

  • ”Really interesting music; the pieces are good, the improvisation is strong. … Energy and purpose.” (John Fordham, BBC Radio 3 review)

  • ”… a darker, denser quartet sound, with the excellent post-Garbarek saxophonist Tore Brunborg added to piano, bass and drums (the superb Jarle Vespestad once again). But the big surprise for trio fans will be the Macy Gray-sounding vocalist Kristin Asbjornsen” (Phil Johnson, The Independent, UK)

  • "This collection only bolsters the man's already admirable jazz credentials" (Lara Bellini, BBC Music - read the entire review)

  • "There is a tremendous emotional depth to this music, which is at the same time subtly grooving. ... music of notable charm and lasting effect." (Ian Patterson, All About Jazz - read the entire review)

  • "Gustavsen’s compositions are consistently intriguing ..  Truly eloquent music, Restored represents a refreshing departure from an already important jazz talent." (Joe Bendel, The Epoch Times - read the entire review)  

  • "The music .. has the pared-down simplicity and the pull of opposites that mark Gustavsen's work -- the sense of transience and celebration, joy and sadness, intellect and emotion. This tension gives the gorgeous little pieces here a freshness and depth behind their melodic grace. ...  In a quintet so alert to the demands of the music, it’s striking how Gustavsen has drawn on and responded to their personal qualities and blended them into a unified whole." (Ray Komiskey, Irish Times - 5 of 5 stars and CD of the week - read the entire review)

  • "Gustavsen has embarked on another intriguing musical odyssey that will be fascinating to follow." (Stuart Nicholson, Jazzwise)

  •  “… meditative but subtly gospel-tinged music. Kristin Asbjørnsen's voice is always arresting, whether on free improv, floating lullabies or incantations of WH Auden poems. For those who felt Gustavsen's work was a bit pallid, here's the remedy.” (John Fordham, The Guardian, UK 4 of 5 stars)

  • "Refined, mature, different, compelling, emotional, and groovy." (LuminoMagazine)

  • “Kristin Asbjornsen sings a few gorgeous songs Tord has written as settings of WH Auden’s poetry. And what a singer! No cool, folksy Scandinavian sound here, but a husky, intimate voice full with a fine sandpaper edge that brings out the gospel/blues strain that has always been there in Gustavsen’s melodic and harmonic content. … The whole band shines and when Asbjornsen rises to a really gritty high in the final verse, after a perfect solo from Brunborg, the hairs on the back of the neck prickle like mad.” (Peter Bacon, The Jazz Breakfast, UK)

  • "Gustavsen continues to be a marvel of economical invention, a player who speaks little but says much. .. With more colors at his disposal, .. Gustavsen has shaped an album even more appealing in its subtle but unmistakeble experimentation." (John Kelman, All About Jazz - read the entire review)

  • ".. delicate beauty and vibrant muscularity .. an album that engages the heart and feet as much as the head. .. Tord Gustavsen has proven again he is one of the new generation of European musicians to really listen out for." (Elsewhere, New Zealand - read the entire review)

  • "This combination of sensitive, contemplative playing and mysterious poetry is a quiet but powerful antidote for those sick of the same old sounds in the jazz world. .. Gustavsen's classical/blues piano work on "Your Crooked Heart" is a model of economical lyricism expressing longing." (Brad Walseth, JazzChicago - read the entire review)

  • "Memorable melodies and excellent musicianship" (Sea of Tranquility - read the entire review)

  • "Asbjørnsen’s voice fits perfectly between Brunborg’s sax and Gustavsen’s keys .. Gustavsen himself is never dominating as a player but is always in control. .. The rhythm section of drummer Jarle Vespestad and bassist Mats Eilertsen are appropriately restrained and maintain the gentle, lithe spirit that Gustavsen’s music demands. The group arrangements are spacious, and the improvisations consistently impressive. The album closes with “Left Over Lullaby No. 3,” leaving this listener restored and eager to return." (Mitch Myers, Jazz Times - read the entire review)

  • "... delicate interpretation of poems drawn from W.H. Auden’s "Another Time". There’s something menacing about the interplay between sax, piano, and rhythm section on “The Swirl/Wrapped in a Yielding Air,” a slow burn whose magnificence builds relentlessly, carried forward by Asbjørnsen’s bantering, weary modulation somewhere between funk and airy coloratura." (Michael Stone, RootsWorld - read the entire review)

  • ".. another bewitching CD. .. delightful silences and slowly baked vibes" (The / Lakeland)