Tord Gustavsen Quartet
Cool and mysterious, pristine and mournful, the music of Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen has earned a vast following while making few populist concessions. Easily the most acclaimed composer and pianist on the burgeoning Norwegian jazz scene, he’s released a series of critically hailed albums that have climbed high on Norway's pop charts, starting with 2004’s The Ground (ECM). Since making his West Coast debut for SFJAZZ in 2005, he’s continued to refine his decidedly quiet and acoustic sound, a lyrical approach steeped in blues and gospel, and marked by ravishing melodies, deliberate tempos, and surpassingly subtle interplay. Gustavsen’s 2009 CD, Restored, Returned, won Norway’s equivalent of a Grammy award. He documented his latest quartet featuring the highly expressive saxophonist Tore Brunborg, bassist Mats Eilertsen and drummer Jarle Vespestad on his fifth ECM session, 2012’s melodically charged The Well, and ups the ante with a stunningly beautiful new release, Extended Circles. Fans of European jazz, the ECM sound, and those who like their jazz with an air of mystery can't miss this rare Bay Area appearance by Norway’s best.