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Venue:
FringeArts140 N. Columbus Blvd. (at Race St.)
Philadelphia, PA Map
Price: $15 General Admission
Monday, June 20, 2016 - 8:00pm

Tord Gustavsen featuring Simin Tander

Tord Gustavsen, piano, electronics, synth-bass
Simin Tander , voice
Jarle Vespestad, drums
Daniel Wold, sound design

Ars Nova Workshop is pleased to present the Philadelphia debut of Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen. His latest trio builds upon his long musical association with drummer Jarle Vespestad and introduces German-Afghan vocalist Simin Tander, exploring the tradition of Norwegian church music in untraditional ways.

The music of the trio’s debut CD, What was said (ECM), offers a mesmerizing and transcendent convergence of the various traditions represented by the members. Gustavsen and Tander worked together with an Afghan poet to translate a selection of Norwegian hymns from Gustavsen’s childhood into Pashto, while also setting to music the lyrics of 13th-century Sufi poet Jalal al-Din Rumi in the revered English translations of Coleman Barks. A final piece draws on the moving words of the Rumi-influenced Beat-era American poet Kenneth Rexroth, who famously experimented with the combination of poetry and jazz.

John Fordham of The Guardian says that “the mixture of the instrumentalists’ distilled reflections with Tander’s palette of hummed tones, sighing note-bends and pristine inflections represents a beguiling new Gustavsen collaboration.”

Born in Cologne to an Afghan journalist father and a German teacher, Simin Tander has been attracting attention on the European jazz scene with innovative performances that find her moving between English and Pashto and invented languages of her own.

The album’s stark, intimate atmosphere reflects the decade-plus association of Gustavsen and Vespestad. The drummer plays on all seven of the pianist’s ECM recordings, forming a remarkably intuitive bond that emerges in the hushed, fragile luster of What was said. The trio also provides a vehicle for Gustavsen’s surprising, newfound interest in electronics, which provide subtle but evocative new colorations to his affecting palette.