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Gjerstad, Frode with Matthew Shipp : We Speak (Relative Pitch)

Meeting in the Park West Studios in Brooklyn in 2022, acclaimed Norwegian free jazz multi-reedist Frode Gjerstad, here performing on alto saxophone & Bb clarinet, joins with New York pianist Matthew Shipp to record eight discerning and warmly paced improvised dialogs, each titled through a wide range of topics, including "about music"; "about equality"; "about Conspiracies"; "about peace".
 

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Personnel:



Frode Gjerstad-alto saxophone, Bb clarinet

Matthew Shipp-piano


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UPC: 5904224871901

Label: Relative Pitch
Catalog ID: RPR1154
Squidco Product Code: 33500

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded in Brooklyn at Park West Studios, in Brooklyn, New York, on November 11th 2022, by Jim Clouse.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"The Norwegian saxophonist Frode Gjerstad is a legend within Norwegian free jazz. In addition, he has been a mentor to a number of younger musicians, and never since he started releasing cassettes of his music in the 70s has he moved an inch away from freely improvised jazz. The American pianist Matthew Shipp, from Wilmington, Delaware, has since the early 90s been one of the most faithful musicians on New York's avant-garde scene, together with, among others, the bassist William Parker and the saxophonist Ivo Perelman, but most of all know the one who has followed the American, and especially the music from Chicago, with his long-term collaboration with the exquisite saxophonist David S. Ware.

On November 11, 2022, the two were at Park West Studios in Brooklyn to do eight "conversations" in the form of music, and although one might not think that Gjerstad's extremely "free-spirited" handling of the alto saxophone and B♭ clarinet would work optimally with Shipp's more "controlled" playing, it is enough to state that the two have found each other in the very best way on this album.

The album is called We Speak, and the songs are "about music", "about hearing", "about freedom of expression", "about conspiracies", "about minorities", "about equality" and "about silence", before they ends with "about peace". And the song titles themselves say a lot about the two musicians. This is not simple music that can go in one ear and out the other, but music that is taken in by all the senses and stays in the body for a long time.

Because there are two extremely exciting and creative musicians we meet. Gjerstad is the veteran and was born in 1948, while Shipp is the "young sheep" in the duo (born in 1960). But there is nothing that separates the two creatively or artistically. They are perfectly aligned, and it is a lovely, free-flowing record that we get to listen to.

Gjerstad's playing, both on alto saxophone and clarinet, is, as always, extremely creative and exciting. And I just think he gets more and more interesting the older he gets. Here, there is (almost) nothing in between - he thins everything that can be thinned out of the two instruments, and through all eight "conversations" he sounds almost better than ever. And Shipp is all the way exactly where he needs to be with ongoing play where there is a need for it, and listening tone where there is a need for it. I've been following Shipp on records for a number of years now, and I'm just as surprised every time by what he gets out of the piano. It is extremely beautiful play all the way, and he follows Gjerstad all the way to the finish line on all the tracks.

This has become a duo record that should get a lot of attention. Firstly, Frode Gjerstad sounds (almost) better and more creative than ever before, and together with Matthew Shipp this is pure dynamite!"-Jan Granlie, Salt Peanuts (translated by Google)



This album has been reviewed on our magazine:

The Squid
The Squid's Ear!

Get additional information at Salt Peanuts

Artist Biographies

"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)
4/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Matthew Shipp was born December 7, 1960 in Wilmington, Delaware. He started piano at 5 years old with the regular piano lessons most kids have experienced. He fell in love with jazz at 12 years old. After moving to New York in 1984 he quickly became one of the leading lights in the New York jazz scene. He was a sideman in the David S. Ware quartet and also for Roscoe Mitchell's Note Factory before making the decision to concentrate on his own music.

Mr Shipp has reached the holy grail of jazz in that he possesses a unique style on his instrument that is all of his own- and he's one of the few in jazz that can say so. Mr. Shipp has recorded a lot of albums with many labels but his 2 most enduring relationships have been with two labels. In the 1990s he recorded a number of chamber jazz cds with Hatology, a group of cds that charted a new course for jazz that, to this day, the jazz world has not realized. In the 2000s Mr Shipp has been curator and director of the label Thirsty Ear's "Blue Series" and has also recorded for them. In this collection of recordings he has generated a whole body of work that is visionary, far reaching and many faceted."

-Matthew Shipp Website (http://www.matthewshipp.com/bio.html)
4/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. About Music 2:03

2. About Hearing 3:14

3. About Freedom Of Expression 6:26

4. About Conspiracies 12:39

5. About Minorities 4:47

6. About Equality 4:23

7. About Silence 6:40

8. About Peace 5:19

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Recordings by or featuring Reed & Wind Players
Piano & Keyboards
Duo Recordings
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Improvised Music

Search for other titles on the label:
Relative Pitch.


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