Tord Gustavsen and his quartet took the stage this week at the Portland Jazz Festival. Gustavsen's prayerful, understated compositions can bring an audience to a breathless tension that louder, more forceful groups may never achieve.
"It's trying to zoom in on that quality of the essential notes ... Wait until dynamics and extrovertedness and virtuosity is really called for by the spirit of the music. It's actually paying tribute to that quality of searching for the essential."
Tord Gustavsen's music draws on jazz standards, but also on the hymns of his childhood, Norwegian folk dance rhythms, and the musical traditions of New Orleans, where the sacred and the profane are never far apart.
Gustavsen stopped by for a special studio session at KMHD this week. He talked about latest release, called Extended Circle, and what's been happening since his last visit to Portland in 2008.