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Frode Gjerstad / Paal Nilssen-Love: Gromka (2010)

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Frode Gjerstad / Paal Nilssen-Love: Gromka How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

It is hard to choose which duo partner of drummer Paal Nilssen-Love
Paal Nilssen-Love
Paal Nilssen-Love
b.1974
drums
to favor over another, as there are simply so many to pick from. There are his collaborations with Ken Vandermark
Ken Vandermark
Ken Vandermark
b.1964
saxophone
, heard on their Chicago Volume and Milwaukee Volume (Smalltown Superjazz, 2009); the fine Peter Brotzmann
Peter Brotzmann
Peter Brotzmann
b.1941
reeds
session, Woodcuts ((Smalltown Superjazz, 2010); Mats Gustafsson
Mats Gustafsson
Mats Gustafsson
b.1964
reeds
's Splatter (Smalltown Superjazz, 2007); or, a personal favorite, Joe McPhee
Joe McPhee
Joe McPhee
b.1939
reeds
's Tomorrow Came Today (Smalltown Superjazz, 2008).

Nilssen-Love can also be heard with Magnus Broo, Nils Henrik Asheim, John Butcher
John Butcher
John Butcher

saxophone
, Lasse Marhaug, Anders Hana, and, perhaps his longest sustained partner, multi-reedist Frode Gjerstad
Frode Gjerstad
Frode Gjerstad
b.1948
sax, alto
. The two have been collaborating for nearly 20 years in the Circulasione Totale Orchestra, the longstanding Gjerstad trio with bassist Øyvind Storesund, and in duo performance.

The two Norwegian players speak the same language: free jazz. This date—a live session from Club Gromka in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in June 2008—delivers a torrent of forcefulness and passion which will not be surprising to their followers.

As a drummer, Nilssen-Love eschews the jazz canon for a more disheveled pulse. He's like a dinner guest that comes wearing a tuxedo with his shirt untucked and three days growth of beard. His beats are dynamic, yet asymmetrical. Paired with Gjerstad the sound is animated and buzzing. Gjerstad favors the upper registers here—even on his bass clarinet which, at times, is difficult to distinguish from his alto saxophone. With this music, the themes are dynamism and passion, and the two charm the crowd with their constant mutable nature. Gjerstad feels no need to tether Nilssen-Love's playing to the ground. And likewise, the drummer responds to Gjerstad with his jumbled flurry of sticks and beat.

This is music that grips by the throat from the first note.

Track Listing: Svirel; Klopotec; Ragija.

Personnel: Frode Gjerstad: alto saxophone, bass clarinet, Bb clarinet; Paal Nilssen-Love: drums.

Record Label: Not Two Records


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