Thursday, April 9, 2009

Frode Gjerstad Trio - Last First

Last First
Falçata-Galia 2001


The great Norwegian king of free improvisation, Frode Gjerstad has gone through a few changes to his trio line-up working with the legendary William Parker & Hamid Drake to the lesser known British musicians John Edwards and Mark Sanders and on this release with two young musicians from his home country of Norway - Øyvind Storesund and Paal Nilssen-Love. One of the good things about this shifting line-up is the different approach the new musicians bring to the sessions and here there's that wonderful feel of energy, vibrant and vitalic. Nilssen-Love in particular (who seems to have emerged as one of the great all-time drummers) is nothing short of impressive with his abstruse rhythms, unexpected time changes and carefully placed press rolls and cymbal taps to keep things moving.

I don't know much about Øyvind Storesund, except that he doesn't seem to have done much outside of Norway, which is a shame because back in 1999 when the trio played this session, his bass playing is solid and well-balanced and he even manages to squeeze himself into the spaces left exposed by Nilssen-Love and Gjerstad. Just listen to the way he manages to burst through the tight rhythms of Nilssen-Love's drumming and Gjerstad's high trills on the saxophone on 'Part 3' - his bass really swells, swinging back and forth between the other two like a giant snake carefully winding its way across a densely covered forest floor, always keeping ahold on what's going on around him. This is intelligent playing even if he doesn't quite possess that dramatic daring of someone like William Parker who's really able to really tear things up.

Gjerstad for his part proves once again why he's becoming such a regular player on my stereo. Like John Butcher, he has a great range, his playing is dynamic and versatile, not just in terms of texture, but also colour as well. On 'Part 8' for instance, which starts off fairly mundanely for all of 20 seconds where he plays in short, sharp trills before Nilssen-Love's pulsating rhythms push him into flights of Eric Dolphy like abstraction, rising and falling between the highest register of his alto-sax and longer held mid-range tones. Perhaps less dynamic on alto-flute in 'Part 9', but the higher range acts as a nice counterbalance for Storesund's rich, wavering bass lines and produces probably the albums most melodious sections.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP