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February 6 , 2014

Reviews of the week

More international acclaim for Extended Circle, the new recording by the Tord Gustavsen Quartet

The flowing rhythms, tranquil melodies and sparse arrangements of pianist Tord Gustavsen’s sixth release make up a quintessential, peculiarly ECM recording. [...] Perhaps it’s reductionist to refer to an ECM ‘sound’, but there’s no denying the influence of label owner and producer Manfred Eicher , who is said to have a large sonic hand in every release. But whether Gustavsen and his quartet are paying homage or simply reflecting influence, ‘Extended Circle’ is a stunningly beautiful recording. [...] In the album notes, Gustavsen writes: ‘the modernistic notion of linear progress is dead. But still we (come) back to musical and spirtual issues from ever-new angles.’ That ‘Extended Circle’ draws the listener in so completely – making us consider each note, each small gesture in its ethereal, shimmering whole – is nothing less than magical.
Ken Micallef, Downbeat

Mittlerweile hat das Quartett zu einer Qualität des Zusammenspiels gefunden, die ihresgleichen sucht. Jeder ahnt voraus, in welche Richtung der andere sich bewegen möchte, und agiert dementsprechend. Dabei ist die Musik sehr konzentriert: Wo manch andere Musiker Kaskaden von Tönen produzieren, um etwas auszudrücken, benötigen Gustavsen und seine Partner manchmal nur ein oder zwei Klänge, die einen eigenen Mikrokosmos generieren.
Mario-Felix Vogt, Stereo

The Tord Gustavsen Quartet is the same ensemble that first recorded ‘Restored Returned’ (2009) and then ‘The Well’ (2012), but not the same, as their Extended Circle encompasses a wider range of mood and sorcery. It's still a relatively slow dance, but there's more energy in motion and emotion. The music is no less exquisite than previous albums, yet the meditations are now more interactive, both within the quartet and between musicians and listeners – like the difference between praying alone and calling up spirits within a community.
Andrea Canter, Jazz Police


Il Pergolese, the new project of Maria Pia de Vito, François Couturier, Anja Lechner and Michele Rabbia, haunts the reviewer from British magazine Jazz Journal

The original music has been rearranged, the words translated into Nepolitan and a gently improvising sensibility together with the subtlest of electronics are applied to produce a gorgeously delicate and shifting soundscape. This is no brutal contemporary dismantling, instead we are presented with timeless music that ebbs and flows, entrances and, quite frankly, haunts.
Dave Foxall, Jazz Journal


Arild Andersen`s new trio recording Mira with Tommy Smith and Paolo Vinaccia is reviewed in Scottish paper Sunday Herald

They’re mostly ballads – both jazz, including a gorgeous reading of Burt Bacharach’s ‘Alfie’, and folk, as witness the closing ‘Stevtone’ – and neither Andersen nor his long-time associate, saxophonist Tommy Smith has ever sounded so bewitching. Andersen’s tone has always been a thing of beauty and his playing here is by turns robustly supportive, subtly suggestive and pliantly probing while Smith plays with a tenderness and sonic awareness that are simply wonderful.
It’s a mostly three-way conversation – Smith, on the Japanese wooden flute, the shakuhachi, duetting with drummer Vinaccia on ‘Rajin’ – that explores the almost inconsolable ‘Bygone’ with great sensitivity and on the marvellously relaxed ‘Blussy’, updates the gospel jazz of Keith Jarrett’s classic Belonging band so scucessfully that you half expect the great pianist to join in at any moment.
Rob Adams, Sunday Herald