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Monday, December 23, 2013

Paal Nilssen-Love Week: Introduction

There are two anecdotes about Paal Nilssen-Love that might say more than the following reviews. 

When The Thing feat. Neneh Cherry played a festival in Karlsruhe last year Paal Nilssen-Love tried out the drum kit during the sound check. It was a fierce attack, the roadies and the people who were responsible for the sound stood there with open mouths - and after about 20 minutes Nilssen-Love just said: “I need a new snare.”

And after a double set at the 2012 Jazz Métèo Festival in Mulhouse (Atomic and Fire Room) he needed a new shirt after each performance because they were completely soaked wet with sweat.

Whenever people talk about Nilssen-Love they are deeply impressed by his awesome energy, his brilliant technique, his sheer power and absolute dedication. He has been a member of groups as different as  Peter Brötzmann’s Chicago Tentet, Atomic, Ballister, The Thing, Fire Room, Scorch Trio, or Original Silence (just to name a few) and he has worked with almost every important musician in the contemporary free jazz scene, his reputation precedes him like a thunderclap. Maybe this is what you could expect when you grow up as the son of a drummer who ran the jazz club in Stavanger/Norway and whose main influences are Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Steve McCall, Philip Wilson but also John Bonham and Stewart Copeland.

But Nilssen-Love is not always the mad wizard who provides the barrage for the above mentioned bands, he is also able to play very sensitively, for example in his Double Tandem trio with Ken Vandermark and Ab Baars or when he plays the congas in his duo with Mats Gustafsson. All in all he is one of the hardest working, most innovative and dynamic men of today’s  improv scene, releasing at least a dozen of records every year. This week there will be a survey of his latest albums.