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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Frode Gjerstad - Mothers & Fathers (Circulasione Totale, 2006) ***½

Frode Gjerstad is without a doubt the most important Norwegian free jazz musician. He is not a hardblower such as Peter Brötzmann with whom he performs regularly, but he's rather someone who's looking for subtleties of sound, seeking tonal modulation, in a more intimate manner, which often leads to a pointillistic filling of aural space. He is at his best in small duo or trio settings. And despite the small settings and despite the often lacking recognizable melody or rhythm, most of his albums offer a very exciting listening experience. This album "Mothers & Fathers" is not different in that respect. Despite his many CDs with American (William Parker, Hamid Drake, Bobby Bradford, Wilber Morris, Sabir Mateen, Pheeroan akLaff, Rachid Bakr, ...) and British players (John Stevens), he still made some with Norwegian musicians, yet they're a little harder to find. This is his fourth with Øyvind Storesund on bass and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums. The trio manages to create a very free and spacious environment, yet with a strong unity, focus and internal logic, with sufficient variation, changes of tempo and high energy. Great album. Recommended.