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The Well: Tord Gustavsen Quartet

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Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen expanded his customary trio by adding a vocalist and a saxophonist on his last album, and he’s kept saxophonist Tore Brunborg onboard for his fifth ECM record, The Well. The trademarks of what we can by now call the Gustavsen sound are intact-minimalism, iciness, patience-but the inclusion of Brunborg adds a populist, soulful touch.

Brunborg has a bit of David Sanborn or Michael Brecker about him. His playing soars and shivers but doesn’t show off; he’d rather create a certain feel than rattle off a ream of notes. It fits right into Gustavsen’s group, which also features bassist Mats Eilertsen and drummer Jarle Vespestad. The quartet’s sound is so understated that one often forgets four men are involved with it.

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