Inspired by Bach : Tord Gustavsen


"Intet nytt under solen", Bach er og har vært inspirasjonskilde for svært mange skapende mennesker - uavhengig av kunstform og sjanger. Albert Schweitzer mente alt fører til Bach, i forståelsen at Bach var et vendepunkt som alt pekte frem mot før, og alt i ettertid pekte tilbake til. 

Friheten er like stor som ærbødigheten. For meg som musiker er Bach først og fremst en vitamin, jeg trenger en høy dose hver uke. Bach gir en voldsom harmonisk og melodisk energi, melodier som setter seg i øret og ikke vil gå. På en måte er det umulig og ulovlig å utvikle Bach, men det er også et kult utgangspunkt. Ikke for å forbedre – men kommentere, være i dialog med og spille ut ifra. Det ble noe som er mangfoldig, enhetlig, men først og fremst inderlig.

- Tord Gustavsen

Intervju med London Jazz News om albumet The Other side - som er sterkt influert av Bach

LJN: Your own playing on The Other Side sounds to me not only like a further honing of your style, but also – in seeming contradiction – a broadening of it. Is that a fair hearing? Are there new influences that you feel you are bringing to your compositions and improvisations?

TG: I really appreciate you seeing it like this. In a way, there is nothing 'new' on The Other Side from my side as compared to what I have been doing with the quartet, with Simin Tander, and in my solo concerts the last couple of years. But then, if you compare it to the earlier trio albums, there is a substantial development.
I like the term "broadening" – it is not so much about linear development and leaving something behind, it is about including new ideas, stretching out, and returning to your main "themes" or musical "message" in ever new ways. I play more "orchestrally" on some tunes now, I play more abstractly on some tunes, I play even more reduced on some tunes, but there are also more dynamics. And still a basic contemplative approach. And I use some electronics and deep-end sounds (the album deserves to be listened to on good speakers and with the volume turned up to really hear the deep-end qualities and the textures produced by electronics on some tunes).
All this has been gradually growing in my playing during the 11 years since the last trio album, especially during the last five years. The influences come from many sources – for example from listening to electronic music, from playing Bach with a choir and a Norwegian fiddle player (!), from playing with Iranian musicians – and fundamentally from listening closely to classical piano players and being inspired by their touch and the way they shape timbre-colours.

LJN: You have included in the album your arrangements of other composers. Tell me about them and why you chose them.

TG: Hymns and chorales have always been an important part of my musical "self" – as a listener, as a non-dogmatic liberal church-goer, and as a performer. But they did not make their way into the albums under my name until What Was Said in 2016 (except for the one track Eg veit i himmerik ei borg on Extended Circle from 2014). It feels very natural now to combine original compositions and folk tunes and even the Bach chorales – it did not before… I guess we had to arrive at a point where we just played with it, and did not try too hard… and, concerning Bach, to a point where the respect for the great master turned into gratitude and freedom rather than anxiety and doubts as to what is "allowed". Of course, one can not "improve" Bach – his compositions are so complete and perfect. So, we had to arrive at a point where we could steal and borrow in the most unforced way and simply treat these amazingly good songs as just that; good songs to approach with a here-and-now attitude as jazz musicians approach their "standards".

Then, the hymns and chorales we play are also really important to me as texts, although we do instrumental versions. I often think of the lyrics when performing them – in a way we indirectly interpret or comment on the message of the texts. The Bach chorales are important in this way: O, Traurigkeit is a lament – expressing deep sorrow and longing for release. Jesu, meine Freude is about deep joy, the joy that lies under our ups and downs and embraces both suffering and celebration. And Schlafes Bruder is actually a song about welcoming death – but here our interpretation is more paradoxical. Jarle started playing a really uplifting groove during a rehearsal, and I just felt that this theme could perhaps fit, although quite far from how it's usually played… and all of a sudden we were indirectly interpreting the chorale as being about release in resurrection – about new life on The Other Side (sic.) of suffering, or moving towards the light…

Live i Studio: Trykk på logoen og se & hør intervju og Tord Gustavsen Trio spille Bach i New Sound in New York





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Bach med Tord Gustavsen - om å nærme seg den store barokkmesteren med ydmykhet og frihet.

10 minutter med Tord Gustavsen om Bach og nye konserter sammen med Berit Opheim, Gjermund Larsen og Borg Vokal.

Hommage til Luther og Bach

Hvordan fungerer den musikalske arven etter J.S. Bach som råmateriale for improvisasjon? I dette sjangeroverskridende møtet krysses koraler, salmer og kantater med jazz- og folkemusikkimprovisasjon. 

Borg vokalensemble og dirigent Tore Erik Mohn har med seg den anerkjente jazzpianisten Tord Gustavsen og de dyktige folkemusikerne Berit Opheim og Gjermund Larsen. I Martin Luthers ånd tar musikerne utgangspunkt i tradisjonen, fornyer den og plasserer den i vår samtid. Som Tord Gustavsen selv sier: «Friheten er like stor som ærbødigheten».

En av ideene for prosjektet er den nære sammenhengen mellom Luther og Bach. Uten reformasjonen er det mye av Bachs musikk som ikke ville kommet til uttrykk. Samarbeidsprosjektet har reformert noen av Bachs sentrale koraler og motetter.

Han er blant Norges største jazzartister og skjønte tidlig at musikken var et univers viktigere enn det meste annet.

Trykk på bildet for å høre intervjuet på NRKs program Drivkraft