Han Bennink & Frode Gjerstad - Han & Frode (CJR, 2009) ****½
Dutch drummer Han Bennink is somewhat of a percussion genius, and a wild entertainer at the same time. Norwegian saxophonist Frode Gjerstad is a true icon of European free improv and free jazz. Together, they create absolute fireworks. Their range and level of inventiveness on their instruments is absolutely unlimited and together they even seem to encourage to take it a notch further. Whether powerful all-hell-breaks-loose interactions to the more subtle sounds of tiny-bird-meets-falling-chestnuts, it is absolute fun to hear. Bennink adds the occasional shout to release some concentrated intensity or just out of plain joy. There is no artistic pretense, just music, raw, authentic, immediate. And if anyone dare say that free improv or free jazz is high-brow stuff that cannot possibly be fun, this album is the absolute perfect counter-example. An absolute treat of creativity, musical passion and joy!