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Tord Gustavsen Ensemble: Restored, Returned

Tord Gustavsen is a Norwegian pianist and composer with his three prior albums being in the trio format. His latest release Restored, Returned introduces a new band consisting of himself, Kristin Asbjornsen (vocals), Tore Brunborg (tenor and soprano saxophones), Mats Eilertsen (double bass) and Jarle Vespestad (drums). Restored, Returned is a soothing ride through Gustavsen's world of slow burning jazz. Memorable melodies and excellent musicianship combine to make this album worthwhile for jazz fans. The instrumentation is subtle and serene and the recording sounds as clear as a bell. On many of these songs the saxophone play of Brunborg is the star of the show. He gets a wonderful tone from his instrument and carries many of the album's nicest melodies. Asbjornsen's sultry vocals adds a certain amount of sophistication and the bass playing of Eilertsen is subtle but provides many musical highlights. He is a very talented player. Of course, every song features the delicate piano playing of Gustavsen. His playing is all good whether he lightly brushes the keys or ventures into more forceful territory.

The album starts with "The Child Within" featuring beautiful sax and piano and a nice melody. The slightly ominous "Way In" has a darker edge with the piano coming across as more intense before stopping completely making room for some cool bass playing. "Lay Your Sleeping Head, My Love" is a slow burning jazz tune featuring the alluring vocals of Asbjornsen and subtle marching style drum fills. The tenor saxophone in "Spiral Song" carries the melody and relaxes the entire piece. Brunborg's rich and warm tone combined with excellent bass makes this one of my favourites. "The Gaze" takes a more improvisational approach with all the instruments finding their own groove sounding more experimental than some of the other tunes.

This is a subtle but often beautiful album with a nice mixture of improvisation and more structured motifs. If you like your jazz with a slower tempo and appreciate quality playing from all band members you might want to give this one a try. Another quality release from ECM Records.

Track Listing:
1. The Child Within (3:48)
2. Way In (4:29)
3. Lay Your Sleeping Head, My Love (2:50)
4. Spiral Song (4:01)
5. Restored, Returned (5:55)
6. Left Over Lullaby No. 2 (4:44)
7. The Swirl/Wrapped in a Yielding Air (5:23)
8. Left Over Lullaby No. 1/O, Stand By the Window (7:18)
9. You Crooked Heart (3:41)
10. The Gaze (5:39)
11. Left Over Lullaby No. 3 (3:04)

Added: January 18th 2010
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 3217
Language: english

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