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Frode Gjerstad / Kent Carter / John Stevens: Detail - 90

John Eyles BY

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Frode Gjerstad / Kent Carter / John Stevens: Detail - 90
The group Detail first played together in December 1981. After a short period when the Norwegian pianist Eiven One Pederson was a member, it stabilised as a trio comprising Norwegian saxophonist Frode Gjerstad, South African bassist (and one-time Blue Note artist) Johnny Dyani, and British drummer John Stevens; these three recorded the group's first album, Backwards and Forwards (Impetus, 1983), in Norway, in October 1982. More albums followed, with Ness (Impetus, 1986) featuring guests Bobby Bradford, Harry Beckett and Courtney Pine, and Way It Goes/Dance of the Soul (Impetus, 1988) also including Bradford. Tragically, this incarnation of Detail was cut short by the death of Dyani in October 1986, aged 40.

Gjerstad and Stevens continued the group, perpetuating its multinational nature by recruiting the esteemed US-born Kent Carter as bassist, Over the next ten years, Detail released two albums, one of which, Less More (Circulasione Totale, 1991) featured violinist Billy Bang, while the title of the other, Last Detail—Live at Cafe Sting (Cadence, 1996) reflected another tragic death—that of John Stevens, from a heart attack, in September 1994, aged 54—which marked the end of Detail. However, that is not the end of the story; since 2015, there has been a steady trickle of Detail album releases, by both versions of the group, with Detail discographies indicating that there could be plenty more that could be released. Which brings us to Detail -90 itself. Studio-recorded in Stavanger, Norway, in November 1990, its music comprises two extended tracks with durations of seventeen-and-a-half and twenty-two minutes, indicative that the album is being released on vinyl in a limited edition of 300.

Having been together for four years at the time of recording, Gjerstad, Stevens and Carter were clearly in touch with each other, so that their three separate strands weaved together into one coherent sound. Maybe inevitably, Gjerstad's alto saxophone attracts attention for a majority of the time, particularly when he hits a groove and explores its nooks and crannies; during such explorations, bass and drums invariably provide driving rhythmic support which perfectly complememts the horn. Otherwise, each of them can seemingly fire off a driving solo at any opportunity. Altogether, thrill-a-minute stuff. Let's hope there is more in the vaults...

Track Listing

Detail - 90A; Detail - 90B.

Personnel

Frode Gjerstad: saxophone, alto; Kent Carter: bass; John Stevens: drums.

Album information

Title: Detail - 90 | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: NoBusiness Records

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