West Coast double bassist and mid-west drummer Alvin Fielder meet Norways saxophonist Frode Gjerstad at the 2016 No Idea Festival in Austin, TX, opening the festival with this remarkable display of free improvisation, a seething and burning set from these veteran players.
Fielder, Alvin / Frode Gjerstad / Damon Smith
The Shape Finds Its Own Space
Released in: UK
"This is a special release for me, Frode is from Stavanger the home city of my great grandfather, what he did with his Detail group with John Stevens & Johnny Dyani was formative music for me. Bobby Bradford was often added & Kent Carter later replaced Dyani. Of course Alvin Fielder drives the music here with his inventive playing that can only come from 60 years in the music!!"- Damon SmithWest Coast double bassist and mid-west drummer Alvin Fielder meet Norways saxophonist Frode Gjerstad at the 2016 No Idea Festival in Austin, TX, opening the festival with this remarkable display of free improvisation, a seething and burning set from these veteran players.
• 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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• Show Bio for Damon Smith
"Damon Smith studied double bass with Lisle Ellis and has had lessons with Bertram Turezky, Joëlle Leandré, John Lindberg, Mark Dresser and others. Damon's explorations into the sonic palette of the double bass have resulted in a personal, flexible improvisational language based in the American jazz avant-garde movement and European non-idiomatic free improvisation. Visual art, film and dance heavily influence his music, as evidenced by his CAMH performance of Ben Patterson's Variations for Double Bass, collaborations with director Werner Herzog on soundtracks for Grizzly Man and Encounters at the End of the World, and an early performance with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.
Damon has collaborated with a wide range of musicians, including: Cecil Taylor, Marshall Allen (of Sun Ra's Arkestra), Henry Kaiser, Roscoe Mitchell, Michael Pisaro, Wadada Leo Smith, Marco Eneidi, Wolfgang Fuchs, Peter Brötzmann and Peter Kowald. After many years in the San Francisco Bay Area, and five great years in Houston, Texas working regularly with Alvin Fielder, Sandy Ewen, David Dove & Chris Cogburn, Damon will move to the Boston area in the fall of 2016. Damon has run Balance Point Acoustics record label since 2001, releasing music focusing on transatlantic collaborations between US and European musicians."-Balance Point Acoustic Website (https://www.balancepointacoustics.com/damon-smith/)
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• Show Bio for Alvin Fielder
"Alvin Leroy Fielder, Jr. Born: November 23, 1935, Meridian, Mississippi. Drums, Percussion, Composer. Father, Alvin Fielder Sr., studied coronet. Mother played piano and violin; grandmother played piano; mother's brother played clarinet. Brother, William, is Director of Jazz Studies, trumpeter, and trumpet instructor at Rutgers University.
At 13, Alvin Fielder began musical studies by joining Harris Senior High Band in Meridian, Mississippi, under leadership of Carlia "Duke" Otis. Alvin continued studies with Ed Blackwell while in New Orleans studying pharmacy at Xavier U. in 1952-53. After transferring to Texas Southern U. in Houston, TX, he continued course of study with Herb Brockstein as well as private lessons with George "Dude" Brown, Gene Ammons, drummer from Washington, DC, and Clarence Johnston, James Moody's drummer, from Boston, MA, whenever they came through Houston working. Alvin also had informal lessons with Jual Curtis and G.T. Hogan.
From 1954-56, Alvin worked with the "Pluma" Davis sextet, which included Don Wilkerson, Richard "Dicky Boy" Lillie, John Browning, Carl Lott, Cr., and many other Houston jazz luminaries. He backed such artists as Lowell Fulsom, Amos Milburn and other R&B artists with extended engagements in Houston. Alvin also made several studio dates for Duke records. He was also active on Houston jazz scene with Jimmy Harrison Quintet, John Browning quintet, and Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson sextet.
From 1959 to 1968, Alvin was active in Chicago with: Sun Ra Arkestra 1960-61, Muhal Richard Abrams 1962-63, Roscoe Mitchell 1963-66, Eddie Harris and Kalaparusha 1965, co-op trio with Fred Anderson and Lester Lashley 1967-69. In between, he worked with John Stubblefield, Jack DeJohnette, "Scotty" Holt, Joseph Jarman, and other Chicago jazz musicians. Alvin is a charter member of AACM with Muhal Abrams, Roscoe Mitchell, Fred Anderson, Malachi Favors, Jodie Christian, Steve McCall, Phil Cohran, Thurman Barker, Ajaramu, Charles Clark, Christopher Gaddy, Freddy Berry, etc.
While in NY in 1962, Alvin played and rehearsed with Ernie Farrow, Bernard McKinney, Ray McKinney, Wilbur Ware, Vincent Pitts, Pat Patrick, George Scott and musicians associated with this era.
Alvin moved back to Mississippi in late 1968 to take over family pharmacy due to father's illness. With John Reese and Black Arts Music Society, Alvin was active in obtaining grants from NEA and Mississippi Arts Commission to bring musicians such as Roscoe Mitchell, John Stubblefield, Malachi Favors, Muhal Richard Abrams, Clifford Jordan and others to Mississippi.
Alvin worked extensively in early 1970s with Joe Jennings, alto saxophonist now in Atlanta, and Edward "Kidd" Jordan, multi-saxophonist from New Orleans, with whom he co-leads the Improvisational Arts quintet. One of the most important new music groups in the South, IAQ has included at various times Clyde Kerr, trumpet; Alvin Thomas, tenor saxophone; London Branch, Elton Herron, basses; Darryl Levine, piano; Kent Jordan, flute. Also worked with Dennis Gonzalez, trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist from Dallas, another leader on the new music scene in Dallas and TX.
Alvin also had a founding role in the nationally-acclaimed Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong Jazz Camp in New Orleans, LA. Alvin has been involved with this growing program since it began in 1995.
Recordings include Sound (1967) with Roscoe Mitchell Sextet, No Compromise (1983) with IAQ, The New New Orleans Music (1985) with New Music Jazz for Rounder, and Liquid Magic, Bannar, Namesake (all 1987) and Debenge-Debenge (1988) for Silkheart, (2006) Live at The Blue Monk, and (2004) Resolving Doors, The Joel Futterman, Alvin Fielder, Ike Levin Trio.
Appearances include Lincoln Center, Chicago; NO Jazz & Heritage Festival; Jazz Marathon '82 Festival, Holland; Moers Intl. New Jazz Festival, Germany 1982; Jazz Danes LA Drones Festival, France 1984; Northsea Jazz Festival, Netherlands 1984; Heinekin Jazz Festival, Netherlands 1988; Atlanta and Texas jazz festivals 1989; Festival Intl. de Louisiane 1991."-Alvin Fielder Website (http://www.alvinfielder.com/)
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Catalog ID: FMRCD429-1116
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Recorded at the No Idea Festival in Austin, Texas, on February 25th
Frode Gjerstad-alto saxophone, clarinet
Damon Smith-double bass
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1. Angles 12:06
2. Curves 10:20
3. Edges and Mass 15:47