Tord Gustavsen

Tord Gustavsen (born 5 October 1970) is a Norwegian jazz pianist and composer. He tours extensively worldwide, and he has been a bandleader for a trio, ensemble and quartet at various times, all bearing his name.

Tord Gustavsen
Gustavsen with Simin Tander and Jarle Vespestad at Cosmopolite Scene in Oslo during Vinterjazz 2016
Gustavsen with Simin Tander
and Jarle Vespestad at Cosmopolite Scene in Oslo during Vinterjazz 2016
Background information
Born (1970-10-05) 5 October 1970 (age 51)
Oslo, Norway
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, bandleader
Years active2003–present

Early lifeEdit

Gustavsen was born on 5 October 1970[1] in Oslo and raised in rural Hurdal, Akershus.[2] He "grew up playing church music".[3]

Later life and careerEdit

Gustavsen in 2007

Gustavsen holds a bachelor's degree (mellomfag) in psychology at the University of Oslo, before he attended the Trondheim Musikkonsevatorium[4] for a three years study of jazz (1993–96). Thereafter he became a graduate (Cand.philol.) of musicology at the University of Oslo, where he was guest teacher of jazz piano and theory (1998–2002).[5]

Tord Gustavsen Trio
Gustavsen, Simin Tander and Jarle Vespestad at Vossajazz 2016.

Between 2003 and 2007 The Tord Gustavsen Trio released three albums on ECM Records.[3] The trio was made up of Gustavsen on piano, Harald Johnsen on double bass and Jarle Vespestad on drums. The albums "contained rapt, pristine, meditative music, which resonated with the inner needs of a large, discriminating audience": combined sales exceeded 100,000.[3] The trio won the Nattjazz prize in 2005.

A later ensemble was composed of Gustavsen, Tore Brunborg (saxophones), Mats Eilertsen (bass) and Vespestad (drums).[3] With vocalist Kristin Asbjørnsen added for some tracks, the album Restored, Returned was recorded in 2009.[6] The album was awarded with Spellemannsprisen (the Norwegian Grammy).[7][8] The quartet's follow-up, The Well, was released in 2012.[7] That year, Gustavsen played over four days at the Montreal Jazz Festival: with the quartet, as a solo pianist and in a duo with vocalist Solveig Slettahjell.[9] The quartet album Extended Circle two years later "reveals a new edginess and dynamic impact that the quartet brings to Gustavsen's music."[3]

In addition, he has recorded as a session musician, and guested on friends' albums. Collaborative projects have included Norwegian jazz vocalist and songwriter Silje Nergaard, musician Carl Petter Opsahl, actress Cecilie Jørstad and drummer Rune Arnesen, duo aire & angels and jazz vocalist Siri Gjære. He also took part in Nymark Collective established by Kåre Nymark. Since 2014 Gustavsen has collaborated with the German-Afghan jazz singer Simin Tander, releasing the album What Was Said (2016). They also performed at the 2016 Vinterjazz and the 2016 Vossajazz in Norway.

Gustavsen continues to be highly interested in psychology and has written a lengthy thesis on the paradoxes of improvisation, drawing on the dialectical psychological theory of Helm Stierlin and Anne-Lise Løvlie Schibbye.[10]




Year Formation
Album Peak positions
2003 Tord Gustavsen Trio Changing Places 32  –  –
2005 The Ground 1 141  –
2007 Being There 3 144  –
2009 Tord Gustavsen Ensemble Restored, Returned 15  –  –
2012 Tord Gustavsen Quartet The Well 4 194 100
2014 Extended Circle 24 103  –
2016 Tord Gustavsen with Simin Tander and Jarle Vespestad What Was Said 31[13]  – 72
2018 Tord Gustavsen Trio The Other Side 40
 – 58


aire & angels duo with Siri Gjære
  • aire & angels (1999)
  • aire & angels II (2002)
Nymark Collective
  • First meeting (2000)
  • Contemporary tradition (2002)
  • Bessie Smith Revisited - Live in concert (2008) - with Kristin Asbjørnsen
Silje Nergaard
  • Port of Call (2000)
  • At First Light (2001)
  • Nightwatch (2003)
  • The Essential + Live in Koln[DVD] (2005)
  • SKRUK / Rim Banna Krybberom (2003)
  • SKRUK / Torun Sævik / Cecilie Jørstad Sommerlandet (2004)
  • SKRUK / Nymark Collective dype stille sterke milde (2006)
Carl Petter Opsahl
  • Indigodalen (Heilo, 2001)
  • Improvisions (Park Grammofon, 2005)
  • Love, The Blues (Park Grammofon, 2008)
Other projects
  • Whoopin (2001)
  • Humans & Places (2006) with Ulrich Drechsler Quartet
  • ID (2007) with Anna Maria Jopek
  • Sorgen og gleden (2008) with various artists
  • Natt i Betlehem (2008) with Solveig Slettahjell (Peaked in NOR: #32)


  1. ^ "Birthdays". The New York City Jazz Record (October 2014) p. 37.
  2. ^ "Tord Gustavsen er månedens musiker i november! - Victoria Nasjonal Jazzscene". Retrieved 2016-04-09.
  3. ^ a b c d e Conrad, Tom (February 2014) "Extended Circle – Tord Gustavsen Quartet (ECM)". The New York City Jazz Record. p. 25.
  4. ^ "Jazzlinja". Archived from the original on 2013-09-21. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
  5. ^ "Tord Gustavsen Home Page". Retrieved 2016-04-09.
  6. ^ Ross, Jon (May 2012) "Tord Gustavsen Quartet – The Well". Down Beat. p. 56.
  7. ^ a b [1] Archived 2013-02-22 at
  8. ^ "Biography - The Full Version". Retrieved 2016-04-09.
  9. ^ Enright, Ed (September 2012) "Amazing Bass". Down Beat. p. 14.
  10. ^ "Tord Gustavsen - Dialectics of Improvisation" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-04-09.
  11. ^ "Tord Gustavsen discography". Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  12. ^ "Tord Gustavsen discography". Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  13. ^ "VG-lista - Topp 40 Album uke 5, 2016". Archived from the original on 17 February 2016. Retrieved 9 April 2016.
  14. ^ "VG-lista – Topp 40 Album uke 36, 2018". VG-lista. Retrieved 8 September 2018.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
First award in 2005
Recipient of the Nattjazzprisen
Succeeded by
Preceded by Recipient of the Jazz Spellemannprisen
Succeeded by