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Tord Gustavsen Trio, The Well

Tord Gustavsen Trio -[|]- The Well [ ECM Records, 2012]

It began right after the release of “Returned, Restored” because I had started writing material that already pointed in this direction. It developed very gradually, the repertoire kept adding new aspects slowly – that is how I prefer to develop things actually. In the course of these years I also had two commissions to work on, which turned out to fit very naturally in the material for the album. So even though I feel that “The Well” has become a very unified and coherent album, it still is a mixture of songs written individually and of pieces written as a commission for the Cheltenham Jazz Festival in England 2011 and pieces for the Oslo International Church Music Festival 2011.

My vision for the recording of “The Well” is in many respects clearly present in the result but also many things turned out different in a positive way! I had originally thought that we would do maybe a bit more of the internal duo or trio playing inside the quartet, but it happened that the overall quartet energy was so good that we just kept playing. Now apart from two trio tunes the rest of the album is in full quartet and that became very natural.

Also before the recording session I may have some idea as to what pieces are essential or central to the musical message of the album – but that may very well change and another tune may end up as the first tune on the album. And a tune that you always play well in concert might turn out as something that you don’t get really right in the studio, so you have to skip it. These things are always very fascinating.

The title track, “The Well”, has a bit more elaborate harmonics than we had on our previous albums. It is a bit denser, more things happen and darker as well but still a very melodic tune. And even though we play a bit more, it is still about breath and the space between the notes. So it sums up some things that are different on this album compared to the earlier albums, while still staying very much in the flow of what I have been doing before. The tune “Circling” has in a weird way become a central piece to me, because we totally changed the way we played it in the studio – it got a very fresh, minimalist gospel type energy – almost simplistic, but with some weird little twists in it. There is this combination of groundedness and openness at the same time, which has been my basic musical ideology since the first album.

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