The superb quartet of saxophonist Frode Gjerstad on tenor, with trumpeter Bobby Bradford, pianist Borah Bergman, and drummer Pheeroan akLaff, recording in the studio in New Jersey, 1997 in a tour de force of unusual and highly creative free improvisation.
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Label: Cadence Jazz Records
Catalog ID: CJR 1089
Squidco Product Code: 20330
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded at Tom Tedesco Studios, in New Jersey on September 14th 1997 by Paul Geluso and Tom Tedesco.
Frode Gjerstad-tenor saxophone
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1. Ikosa Mura 7:24
2. Branu Vali 5:09
3. Ika Kulabo 11:30
4. Flana Nua 2:33
5. Kasi Vanla 11:39
6. Ouli Zlenak 16:00
7. Abua Dukot 10:35
Related Categories of Interest:
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
sample the album:
"Saxophonist Frode Gjerstad has become increasingly prolific over the past few years thanks in part to the number of accolades he's managed to accumulate in both his native Norway and internationally. Principle among these awards was his winning the illustrious title of Norwegian Jazz Musician of the Year in 1998. The distinction brought not only prestige, but also resources, which have allowed Gjerstad to continue realizing his goals including performing and recording with a diverse array of European and American improvisers. The quartet documented on this disc is comprised of one such aggregate and is indicative of the challenging kinds of company Gjerstad prefers to keep. His partners are among the top technicians on their respective instruments and couple their abundant ability with an equal measure of creativity. Bergman remains at the vanguard of improvising keyboard stylists, few brass players have matched Bradford's facility on trumpet, and akLaff's percussive faculties have fueled a wide array of groups fronted by leaders as diverse as Don Byron and Sonny Sharrock. Among the three, Bradford's association with Gjerstad has been the lengthiest. The two first played together in the saxophonist's long-standing group Detail, co-led by the late British drummer, John Stevens.
The history the two men share is highly apparent in their music and this outing marks only one of several recent collaborations (see also Gjerstad's "Throught the Woods" on CIMP). All of the music for the date is collectively composed though the pieces also rely heavily on free improvisation. The title piece starts things out at full tilt with Bergman's turbulent clusters and akLaff's crashing drums charging forward before Gjerstad and Bradford arrive for a clipped theme statement and a series of densely compacted exchanges. Staccato interplay and migratory repetition are the focus on "Branu Vali," a piece which generates a similar level of dissonant intensity through akLaff's rolling stop and stutter pulse. A potent lyricism permeates "Ika Kulabo" and Bradford's opening solo on the piece is both concise ideologically and expansive sonically delivering the perfect balm for Bergman's restless obliquities on the keys. On the abbreviated "Flana Nua" Bergman and akLaff drop out leaving Gjerstad and Bradford sculpt a tone poem built on unison lines. Bergman's craggy chords return on "Ouli Zlenak" the longest piece on the disc, building tension alongside akLaff's constantly combusting rhythms. Gjerstad makes the most of the resulting ruckus to craft a marvelously unfettered solo that tests the register limits of his instrument. Bradford follows suit on the concluding "Abua Dukot" delivering his most inspired solo of the date through a maze of carefully slurred notes.
This is a group comprised of four atypical musicians, led by one whose chief designs involve a continuous reevaluation of musical preconceptions and boundaries. Those listeners who covet the joys of creative improvised music and are unfamiliar with Gjerstad owe it to themselves to become familiar with his work. His is definitely an improvisational voice to be reckoned with."-Derek Taylor, All About Jazz
Get additional information at All About Jazz
• Show Bio for Frode Gjerstad
"Frode Gjerstad was born in Stavanger, Norway, 24-03-1948. He started trying to play improvised music as a trumpeter in 1968. When he moved to Lund in Sweden (1971 to 1975) he got a chance to meet, talk and play with musicians interested in this music. He had at that time started playing tenor saxophone (1969).
After he came back to Stavanger in 1975 he started collaborating with keyboardist Eivin One Pedersen. Together, they explored many different aspects of improvised music, as a duo or with others, but it was not until 1981, when they first played with John Stevens, that he had a real chance to feel what a dedicated musicians can do to the music-making.
At the early stage of his career, he choose mainly to play with international musicians because there was no tradition in Norway for the free music. However, after the club Blå opened in Oslo in 1996, a good number of younger musicians are now picking up on the music.
His relationship with British drummer, John Stevens which started in -81 and lasted up until his death in -94, was of great importance both musically as well as on a personal level. Through Stevens, he was introduced to some of the finest British improvisers and got to know their way of playing. Together, they led the trio "Detail" starting with Johnny Dyani on bass. And after Johnny died in -86, with Kent Carter.
He has also been active, running a larger group of mostly Norwegian musicians, the Circulasione Totale Orchestra. He started the group using electric instruments and modern rock-oriented rhythms. He has used the band to present his own compositions as well as a workshop and a place for young people to get to know free music. The band presented a commissioned work at the Molde Festival in -89 with a 13 man band combining free improvisations, compositions as well as rapping and scratching.(Three horns, three bassists, three drummers, accordeon, guitar a rapper and a DJ). The Circulasione Totale Orchestra is a powerful ever-changing band.
But it´s not easy to keep such a big group together. In 1998 he decided to keep the core of the band which at that time was Paal Nilssen-Love on drums and Øyvind Storesund on bass and try to develop that sound. It became Frode Gjerstad Trio. So far the trio has toured Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Polen, Italy, Austria, Portugal, England, Canada and the United States.
He has received several grants from various foundations and has been very active in the Norwegian Jazzmusicians Federation as well as in the committee for the Norwegian Contemporary Music Federation. Voted Jazz Musician of the Year in Norway, 1997. Part of the price was a concert where he could freely choose which musicians to use. This was the first meeting with Hamid Drake and William Parker. The concert became a tour of Scandinavia in -97 and the US in 2000.
US Pianist Borah Bergman has also been important to Frode. They first met in -94 and have played as a duo and also as trio with Evan Parker and later Peter Brøtzmann. Borah has been a great inspiration and a challenge over the years!
English bassist Nicholas Stephens first played with Frode in 1984. He played electric bass at the time, but it was not until after John Stevens died in 1994 that they started working together as "Calling Signals". First with a tour of England in 1995 with Paul Rutherford and Terje Isungset. And in 1996 with Louis Moholo and Danish guitarist, Hasse Poulsen. The latest version of the group has been with accordionist Eivin One Pederesen and Paal Nilssen-Love or Tony Marsh on drums. Frode also met and worked with US percussionist Kevin Norton in 2004 and they have found a common ground. They have a trio with Nicholas Stephens: Instinctual Eye.
Electronic music started to make an impact when he met Lasse Marhaug. They have played some concerts together and made some recordings. Lasses sounds have opened up a whole new territory of possibilities and came at a time when Frode started playing clarinets. A very fruitful combination!
Another side of the electronic thing was the group Ultralyd which was Frodes idea: to bring in a loud powerful electric bass with drums, guitar and reeds. After about a year, he left the band because the sound level was unbearable for the old man.! And he left it to the youngsters to decide how loud the band should be. Still, he has continued playing with Morten, Anders and Kjetil in other projects."-Frode Gjerstad Website (http://frodegjerstad.com/?page_id=162)
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