Tord Gustavsen's new trio with vocalist Simin Tander and drummer Jarle Vespestad performs at Saint Peter's Church as part of a U.S. tour marking the release of their acclaimed new ECM Records album, What Was Said.

Advance tickets are available by donation:

For his new project Hymns and Visions, Tord Gustavsen interprets the Norwegian hymns of his youth and joins them with his settings of the poetry of Persian mystic Jalal alDin Rumi and American writer Kenneth Rexroth. The hymns are translated into the Afghan Pashto language, Rumi is translated into English, and all are transformed by the exquisite singer Simin Tander and the equally exquisite drummer Jarle Vespestad. Gustavsen unites the hymns, which are his standards, Sufi poetry, his long collaboration with Vespestad, and the beauty of Tander's voice to create a mesmerizing experience that traverses spiritual traditions showing, through music, their common ground.


Tord Gustavsen's website
ECM Player
Music video from Antwerp
Music sample: "The Source of Now" (Soundcloud)
Music sample: "Rull" (Soundcloud)


“Arresting and hypnotic … a genuine and profound listening experience … Gustavsen's most bewitchingly beautiful work to date.” -- Stuart Nicholson, Jazzwise (UK)

“The German-Afghan Simin Tander is the singer Tord Gustavsen has been waiting for all his life. The Norwegian pianist has worked with vocalists before, but none has developed the mix of spirituality and sensuousness at the heart of his music as fully as this. If the trio and Gustavsen’s music sounded sublime on record, it was a transforming experience live. I don’t know what the rest of the year holds for my live jazz experiences but I can’t imagine anything bettering this. If you missed it you have my sympathy.” -- Peter Bacon, The Jazz Breakfast (UK)

“It may sound bizarre to begin with: Norwegian hymns clothed in the Afghan Pashtu language and alternated with poems by the Persian mystic
Rumi, sung in English. But the deeper the occupation with spiritual traditions, the more boundaries dissolve, parallels between Islam and Christianity becoming increasingly tangible. When it comes to music, such fusion can lead to exhilarating results. This is very much the case with What Was Said ...” -- Stefan Franzen, (Germany)

“Having nurtured a lifelong interest in his country’s church music, in What Was Said (ECM) the 45-year-old pianist has brought that Lutheran tradition into an unlikely-sounding, but ultimately beguiling partnership with the writing of 13th-century Persian Sufi poet Rumi. In the process he has stripped down instrumental resources to just himself on piano and regular drummer Jarle Vespestad, while recruiting the soft yet emotionally charged vocals of German-Afghan singer Simin Tander. The result is a recording of potent delicacy, suffused with the yearning of both the beautifully stately Norwegian hymns and the rich sensuality of the Sufi poetry ...” -- Jim Gilchrist, The Scotsman (UK)