Click here to [close]

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Bradford/Gjerstad Quartet - Silver Cornet (Nessa,2014) ****½

By Josh Campbell

Bobby Bradford has been a longtime favorite of mine, and I had the pleasure of seeing him perform back in October at the Angel City Jazzfest. Hints of Bradford’s time with Ornette are always present in his improvisation, but the dusty blues of growing up in Texas are the prominent and dominant presence in his voice on the cornet.  Augmented with Frode Gjerstad on alto saxophone and clarinet, the band flows freely like the crest of an ocean tide. Pulling out, crashing at times, and simply flowing at others. Gjerstad approaches the music like a painter to a blank canvas. Letting his saxophone paint the picture, and at times stepping back and admiring what is before him. His strategically places stokes fill the blanks left by Bradford.  With Ingebrit Haker-Flaten on bass and Frank Rosaly on drums, the quartet roars and whispers through-out the 45 minute journey.

The album begins with the, just shy of 19 minutes, “Silver Cornet tells”. The opener starts with Bradford playing fragments of various phrases before Gjerstad takes an extended, spacious solo.  Although the date is a quartet outing, you are more than likely to hear a smaller combination, either trio or duo, of any assembly than you are the entire ensemble.  About halfway through the opening track, Bradford returns with a mute and engages Gjerstad matching his cornet to Gjerstad’s jagged alto phrases. Afterwards Haker-Flaten takes a beautiful solo before matching wits with Rosaly, with a chemistry that appears to have formed long ago. The following song, “a story about you” features the quartet engaging more as a foursome. The music hits a high before Rosaly solos, playing, if I didn’t know better, everything in the kitchen. From there the music leaves Bradford back at the helm spitting fragmented boppish lines as Rosaly guides the tempo.  Gjerstad returns to trade blows with Rosaly before Bradford and Gjerstad engage in some friendly fire. The album concludes with “and me, me and you”, a spirited affair that leaves you wanting a second set. The CD comes packaged with beautiful artwork and liner notes that complement the music.  One of 2014’s best in my opinion and recommended highly.