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Being There


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Audio CD, April 5, 2007
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

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Song Title Time Price
listen  1. At Home 6:06$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Vicar Street 3:42$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Draw Near 3:51$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Blessed Feet 6:04$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Sani 2:36$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Interlude 2:18$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Karmosin 5:08$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Still There 4:17$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Where We Went 4:45$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen10. Cocoon 5:48$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen11. Around You 5:33$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen12. Vesper 4:24$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen13. Wide Open 4:39$1.29  Buy MP3 


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Being There + The Ground + The Well
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 5, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: 2007
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ECM
  • ASIN: B000NVL4EM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,067 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

One of the great success stories of jazz in the last five years, the Tord Gustavsen Trio follows up their first two hit albums with the eagerly-anticipated Being There. The new release finds the trio continually opening up the music in new and lyrical ways. Along with Gustavsen's infectious music (both ballads and up-tempo), drummer Jarle Vespestad and bassist Harald Johnsen make considerable contributions to the new album. Johnsen lends his compositional skills with the graceful tango Karmosin, and Vespestad is often as much a front-line voice in the music as Gustavsen himself. Proving that sensual, spiritual jazz can come from even icy Norway, the Tord Gustavsen Trio stormed onto the jazz scene in 2003 with their debut recording, Changing Places. 2005's The Ground took the band one step further and even topped the pop charts in Norway, an unprecedented achievement.The restraint of Gustavsen's approach and the infectiousness of his simply drawn melodies has spoken to an audience that does not normally concern itself with improvisation.

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Such is the arresting beauty of Tord Gustavsen's sound, it's no surprise that his albums have captured a significant following, surpassing even those of other rarified artists on the ECM label. But the Norwegian pianist doesn't live on beauty alone. His sculpted playing, which draws strongly on his church background with its tidy gospel voicings while also incorporating Spanish and South African accents, has a kind of liquid weight that brings to mind Ethan Iverson of the icon-bashing Bad Plus, as markedly different as they are stylistically. Beyond that, it's the remarkable shift-shaping qualities of Gustavsen's trio that make Being There so compelling. Gustavsen has talked about being influenced artistically by "the psychology of relationships." The psychology of the relationship among him, bassist Harald Johnsen, and drummer Jarle Vespestad is made compelling not only by standard interactive effects, but also by the unique shape-shifting that occurs through continual shifts in how much voice each player has in relation to the others, how much lightness or darkness, how much intensity. A notable advance over the trio's first two albums, on which being deliberate sometimes translated into dull, Being There rarely loses its grip. There are stories being told here, with endings that change with each spin. --Lloyd Sachs

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
79%
4 star
13%
3 star
8%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 24 customer reviews
The more I listen to it, in fact, the more I like it.
Karl W. Nehring
Gustavsen phrases it romantically, that his music is "about loving every note".
Dayu Zhang
I just love to put this kind of music on, sit back and drift away.
Olukayode Balogun

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Dayu Zhang on June 11, 2007
Format: Audio CD
The one thing Tord Gustavsen's jazz trio has in common with novelist Haruki Murakami is their ability to create dreamlike landscape through their own creativity media. The difference, though, is that in the process of the creation, Murakami will use as many as possible details to blend reality and dreamscape; whereas in the case of Tord Gustavsen Trio, we are only provided with the basic framework for slow and very often restrained melodies, in which nothing is developed into complexity rather than merely the feeling per se.

Nonetheless, this is not to say that their music is lackluster. The trio displayed in their previous albums Changing Places and the Ground, their abilities to compose such beautiful yet not abstract jazz in a discipline which Gustavsen puts, "inspired by a love of spaces". In jazz, sometimes playing a riff in between notes might be easy, but leaving it blank takes up imagination. Tord Gustavsen Trio definitely has this imagination.

Releasing their third album in five years, Being There, as part of a trilogy, the trio has taken their restraint way of utterance to a new territory. When you start listening to the album, the sense of déjà vu will dominate you even if you have never heard of their previous albums. Yet as the music goes on, it will be clear to even long-time listeners that you are not in a familiar place at all. Tunes like Blessed Feet (a Jarrett-like funky tune) and Where We Went (an up-tempo Spanish dance) sing a more assertive but not aggressive kind of lyrics, while the music is still kept as simple and uncanny as it possibly can.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Stuart Robert Harris on January 17, 2008
Format: Audio CD
"Being There" somehow manages to take the quiet rapture of the trio's previous album (The Ground) to a new level.

There are beautiful slow pieces that gradually unfold with paradoxically crystalline warmth (At Home, Draw Near, Sani, Still There), an intriguing angular piece (Karmosin) and three up-tempo numbers - the funky Blessed Feet, the Spanish-tinged Where We Went and my favourite, Vicar Street. Half of the track is a tense, urgent build-up that then resolves into a gorgeous yearning theme.

I've seen some great drummers and percussionists in my time (e.g. Airto Moreira, Mike Shrieve of Santana, Zakir Hussein) and the trio's Jarle Vesperstad is up there with the best, but in his own distinctive way. In his hands a standard drum kit becomes a real instrument.

What I love about the Tord Gustavsen Trio is that they show masterfully how improvised music can be melodically accessible without being schmaltzy and technically satisfying without degenerating into ego-tripping clever-clever stuff. It takes outstanding musicians to play such apparently simple music.

This is another album from the trio that can appeal to people who like it "easy on the ear", but will richly reward more discerning music lovers.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David J. Ohanlon on October 19, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A bit like warm sun on a tropical island, Tord Gustavssen's music has the effect of purveying instant calm & contentment. Allow yourself NO distractions (headphones are perfect) & you will be transported into another space where anything & nothing is probable (another reviewer's "Dreamlike Adagio" title says it all!). The playing is at once masterful & spare, understated & yet quietly intense. Another bonus is it's 100% fully acoustic (ie. doesn't use reverb or other "tricks" of some jazz trios) & is totally relaxed & unhurried in its approach. As the first 3 tracks are immediate standouts, all you need do is have a quick listen to at least one of them & only the most hardened heavy-metal type audiophiles could fail to be moved. Even better, each track has its own distinct characteristics so there's no "heard this before" factor. For example, after you've listened to any or all of the first 3 tracks, skip forward to the attention grabbing intro to "Where we went". If I did have a minor criticism it would be that tracks 5 through 8 feature some slightly "heavy handed" chords & are therefore a little less subtle than the often sublime music that precedes & follows them. But overall, delightful stuff & worthy of 5 stars!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Karl W. Nehring on July 7, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Fans of this trios first two ECM releases will know pretty much what to expect from this new release: introspective, lyrical playing by Tord Gustavsen on piano, Harald Johnson on bass, and Jarle Vespestad on drums. However, there are some surprises here. The second cut, "Vicar Street," turns up both the tempo and the energy level, and the fourth cut, "Blessed Feet," is a swinging romp that demonstrates these Swedes are not without soul. Not quite gritty, but definitely a bit funky.

Although at first I did not find this new release quite as beguiling as their previous release, The Ground, I still found it quite enjoyable. The more I listen to it, in fact, the more I like it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Olukayode Balogun on March 5, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I love what these guys do. I remember using words like "dreamy", "spacey", "uncluttered" and "beautiful" to describe Gustaven's piano playing when I reviewed the trio's 2004 release The Ground some time ago, and all of those words could equally be applied here. Manfred Eicher reprises his role as producer and in many ways this album could be described as more of the same. I'm not complaining though. I feel this is a good thing because while the calming & emotionally healing quality of the trio's music remains intact, these compositions are all fresh, new, very original and very individual. I just love to put this kind of music on, sit back and drift away.

Two songs on this album did make me sit up from my reverie though. The gospel-flavoured "Blessed Feet" is one, and as soon as I heard the unusually funky drum beat intro, I knew it was going to be something different. The other is "Karmosin", the only song not written by Gustavsen (it was written by drummer Jarle Vespestad), and it's a beautifully abstract and idiosyncratically arranged song. It definitely stands out.

But all 13 songs are originals and as that's always something special in itself. I could go on to try and use fancy words to describe the drummer's kicks, taps and touches or double-bassist Harold Johnsen's fluidity and lyricism but a: I'm really not that clever and b: even if I were, this is a review of a listening experience and not a thesis for a music degree. (Message!)

All in all, I would describe the album as a collection of aural pleasures and that's about the best I can do. These dudes are a flawless jazz trio and this CD is another great buy. ECM have gone and done it again.
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