The other side

As one of the most lyrical pianists on the circuit, Tord Gustavsen's The Other Side returns him to celebrated trio form after an 11-year hiatus from that particular format. Regular drummer Jarle Vespestad joins him with bassist Sigurd Hole and though this outing features the piano on some dense chordal work, the majority of numbers reconnect us with the moody melodic minimalism of the first three Gustavsen Trio efforts. This latest one features three meditations on J.S. Bach scores, makeovers of traditional songs and originals by the Norwegian pianist/composer. It covers hymnal church ground, dreamy exploratory Jazz and processional balladic elements with the occasional fractal deconstructionism. With its shifting conversations, the ensemble's interplay draws us listeners into their virtually psychic mind meld. As the album title suggests, this is about moving over to the other side where things are simpler, more beautiful, more intrinsically connected and multi-dimensional. The 'method' to crossing that bridge is a gently probing questioning attitude or feeling-inquiry just like this music embodies, demonstrates and invites. Glorious graceful stuff!