Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Sunday, November 11, 2007

To the Tord Gustavsen Trio last night, part of Bruce Eaton's Hunt Real Estate Art of Jazz series at the Albright-Knox. Because his style is quiet and contemplative Gustavsen draws comparisons to Bill Evans, but although anyone who likes Evans would probably enjoy Gustavsen the comparison falls down when you consider the way the two pianists swing-- Gustavsen's swing is elongated, and is as much about the space around the composition as it is his left hand-- a common quality among the artists on the ECM label, as Bruce pointed out in his pre-show talk. Sometimes this sort of thing can seem dry, but last night it hit me just right-- I found myself thinking about how warm and inviting this music was-- deceptively complex, another point in common with Evans, or Keith Jarrett, but also friendly, in the reserved way most of the Scandinavians I know are. If you were in Oslo on a cold night, you would be pleased to find yourself in a room where this group was playing, although the chances are it would be in a church or a small auditorium rather than a club. Even if it were in a club, you would not expect anyone in the room to acknowledge that you walked in, and you would order your drink by pointing.

It bears mentioning that this was one of only five stops in North America for these musicians, on this tour, and that they are generating a buzz that is almost louder than their music. I don't know what Bruce Eaton's secret is, but he is consistently in front of the field when it comes to bringing the best in jazz to Buffalo. Gustavsen and his trio's other stops were San Francisco, LA, and Knoxville (for the Bijou Fall Festival of the Arts), and it is pretty cool to think that the Queen City of the Lakes is on the map for musicians working at this level.

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