The Gori Project 고리 프로젝트 (2023)

Selected reviews

Torben Westergaard, the musical chameleon, has put out an album definitely worth listening to.

JazzViews (UK)

Westergaard, who has extensive experience blending diverse musical genres, opted for an intriguing fusion of Scandinavian jazz with South Korean folk music. His choice could not have been more spot-on— the result is surprising and captivating.

Laboratorium Muzycznych Fuzji (Polen)

Danish bassist and keyboardist Torben Westergaard shines on this mostly instrumental set […] The consistently inventive and mesmerizing program adds up to one of the best world music projects since the albums of the late, great Oregon.

Americana Highways (USA)

Listening to the music played by the international ensemble led by the Danish bass guitarist and the Korean flutist, words like hypnotic, captivating, and meditative may come to mind. Yet, the emphasis on the rhythmic component and the communication between the individual musicians never disappears.

Hudba, Radio Proglas (Czech Republic)

The dialogue is a slow and thoughtful one, all about togetherness and mutual respect, and the world-spanning sound is a beautiful experience to match. This is a kind of unity the world can always use more of. (USA)

西洋と東洋の現代的融合に成功。(Successfully achieved a contemporary fusion of Western and Eastern elements).

Hiroki Sugita, PJ Portrait in Jazz (Japan)

Building on the intercultural collaboration established with The Gori Project in 2019, Nordic and Korean musicians joined forces again to create its highly anticipated sequel. This remarkable musical endeavor, slated for release on September 1st, 2023, showcases the harmonious blend of their diverse talents. Music enthusiasts worldwide will enjoy the fruits of this collaboration, as the outcome will be accessible through popular music streaming services and physical CDs.

The Gori Project II: Connection between people, immersion in music

With The Gori Project II, musician and composer Torben Westergaard wanted to create a cultural exchange and a musical example of how a democratic conversation between people and cultures can unfold. It is music that fuses jazz and traditional Korean music in terms of genre and creates space for immersion, improvisation, and surprises. Because that is exactly what music can do: Create space for new realizations and stronger connections artistically, sensually, and humanly.

As a child, Torben Westergaard discovered that music could open doors, take him to new places and create encounters with others. This way of approaching music has shaped his long-standing career; whereas a recognized jazz musician, bassist, and composer, he has sought out different cultures and created new musical encounters throughout his professional career. In 2019, he was the initiator and the driving force behind ‘The Gori Project,‘ which showed him the way into traditional Korean music. That project was so fruitful and inspiring that Westergaard chose to explore that world further; he says:

It made sense both for me personally and from an artistic perspective to say that with the first Gori Project, we got started on something exciting and significant – and instead of saying ‘that’s it’ and putting it behind say, I thought it called for some contemplation. Both were out of respect for what we had done and because I take artistic ambitions seriously.

The Gori Project is a connection device.

Torben Westergaard is now current with The Gori Project II, which takes the meeting between the Western jazz tradition and South Korean folk music to the next level: Where the first project was a meeting where you start talking together and get to know each other. The Gori is Project II more of a conversation, a connection, on a deeper level:

The word ‘Gori’ means ‘connection’ in Korean. I believe creativity in the arts and music will be a medium to understand each other. Many cultural and societal issues are caused by misconnection and lack of understanding. The Gori Project is a connecting device between Scandinavian and Asian cultures through sounds,” says Korean Hyelim Kim, who plays daegum on The Gori Project II. Daegum is a large flute made of bamboo, which is used in traditional Korean music, but which in the project is allowed to speak its own language and connect in new ways.

Openness and dialogue: ‘This is how the world can be’

The vision has been to create a record with a high artistic level, driven by equal parts curiosity and desire to tell stories. The Gori Project II creates connection and exchange between Asian and Western cultures, between nations, and between musicians and audiences. Between people. Because that’s what music can do:

“The wish is for the project to reach all people interested in intercultural issues. To people who themselves are open to the world and open to the space between us,” says Torben Westergaard and concludes:

“The intention is to give the audience an experience of witnessing and becoming part of a space where cultures work alongside each other. Where there is a dialogue between differences. In this way, there is a message in The Gori Project II that ‘this is how the world can also be’.”

An artistic commentary on the present

The current album consists of a structured and pre-composed part and an improvised part, where the music is created intuitively and in a mutual exchange between the musicians, thus making its own language. In this way, it becomes a fusion between Western and Asian, between jazz and traditional folk music, and takes the listener to a new and exciting place.

Improvising in a shared, musical language requires the ability to listen to others and requires one to be able to suspend oneself and one’s desire to decide, says Westergaard:

“Music is not something that belongs to me or is mine – it’s something we get. Something available to us as humans if we want it.”

In this way, The Gori Project II is also a commentary on contemporary times, where democratic conversation often has narrow conditions, explains Torben Westergaard:

“Everyone has the same opportunity to speak in the common language that is music. It happens as a spontaneous conversation, where there is a willingness to listen to what the others say – and where you try as far as possible to refrain from and downplay your cultural background.”


1                 And This Is So                     02:48
2                 You Then Who                   04:40
3                 Bruised Blue                       05:19
4                 Democrazy                         05:40
5                 Meskel                               03:31
6                 Flute Me Up                       02:27
7                 Now Then When                04:22
8                 Another Day Within           01:52
9                 Det Var En Lørdag Aften    03:20
10               Daily News                         03:38

  • Hyelim Kim 김혜림 – Daegeum
  • René Damsbak – Trumpet/flugelhorn, Synths & Electronics,
  • Torben Westergaard – Bass, Additional Keyboards, Voice
  • Marilyn Mazur – Percussion

Music by Torben Westergaard except for Det Var En Lørdag Aften (traditional) and tracks (1, 4, 6, 8, 10) by Damsbak, Kim, Mazur & Westergaard

Recorded October/November 2022 at Millfactory Studios (DK) and Myogen Productions (DK)
Mixed by René Damsbak
Mastered by BMH Lydproduktion (DK)

Produced by Torben Westergaard & René Damsbak

Cover design by

Label and catalog number: TWMUSIK021

Released with support from Danish Conductors Association, JazzDanmark, and Danish Arts Foundation.