Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

4

Frode Gjerstad & Ståle Liavik Solberg: Jerusalem, Israel, June 28, 2012

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
Frode Gjerstad & Ståle Liavik Solberg
Uganda
Jerusalem, Israel
June 28, 2012
The best way to experience free improvised music is live, close to the musicians—and if possible, in small places. The Uganda club in Jerusalem turned out to be a perfect space for Norwegian reed player and master of free improvisation, Frode Gjerstad, and his fellow countryman and frequent collaborator, drummer Stale Liavik Solberg, in their first gig in Israel, part of the Hafarot Seder festival organized by the Levontin 7 club in Tel Aviv.
Maybe it was the unpretentious character of the Uganda club, its familiar atmosphere and small performance hall, that leaves no space at all between the musicians and the audience. Or maybe the receptive, small audience—only eight people—that were clearly unfamiliar with the Gjerstad's work, which goes back to the beginning of the Eighties. Or the chilly evening, that was considered by the friendly Norwegians as perfectly warm by their standards.
It does not really matter. Gjerstad is one of the heroic figures of the European free improvisation scene. He has played with many great European and American improvisers, usually in small, intimate formats. Solberg is a generation younger, but was an equal to Gjerstad. Like a true master, Gjerstad was focused on the search for sonic articulation—not on a perfect, well-built and polished one, but one with an immediate, personal and truly emotional impact. He did not attach himself to any utterance. If it works—either by his clarinet or the alto sax, for him and for Solberg—he will develop it, explore it and push it forward. If not, he will let another one blossom. There was no end to his musical ideas.

There was also no attempt to impress the audience with any sort of technical mastery, though both Gjerstad and Solberg know their instruments through and through. There was a sense of a personal humility. The shared, creative music was more important for these individuals. And naturally there was a sense of joy, of expressing themselves, openly, with healthy energy and with immediate and mutual understanding.

And though there was not a clear rhythmic, harmonic or melodic outline to any of any of the improvised pieces, there was a feeling of an accumulated, boiling energy that reached its cathartic climax during the last minutes of the gig. It was a short, concise and illuminating experiment of living and playing in the moment. A liberating experiment for the few wise ones who believed in this rare kind of music and trusted the great art of Gjerstad and Solberg.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Henry Threadgill at Tilton Gallery Live Reviews Henry Threadgill at Tilton Gallery
by Kurt Gottschalk
Published: December 10, 2017
Read The Brian McCarthy Quartet At FlynnSpace Live Reviews The Brian McCarthy Quartet At FlynnSpace
by Doug Collette
Published: December 10, 2017
Read Mindi Abair at The Empress Theatre Live Reviews Mindi Abair at The Empress Theatre
by Walter Atkins
Published: December 8, 2017
Read BAN BAM: Music Talking Live Reviews BAN BAM: Music Talking
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 7, 2017
Read David Amram 87th Birthday Celebration at the Falcon Live Reviews David Amram 87th Birthday Celebration at the Falcon
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: December 6, 2017
Read Christian McBride and Tip City at Village Vanguard Live Reviews Christian McBride and Tip City at Village Vanguard
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: December 5, 2017
Read "Miles Electric Band at Koerner Hall" Live Reviews Miles Electric Band at Koerner Hall
by Alain Londes
Published: October 28, 2017
Read "European Jazz Conference 2017" Live Reviews European Jazz Conference 2017
by Ian Patterson
Published: October 2, 2017
Read "Fred Hersch's Leaves Of Grass at Jazz at Lincoln Center" Live Reviews Fred Hersch's Leaves Of Grass at Jazz at Lincoln Center
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 26, 2017
Read "38th Annual Detroit Jazz Festival" Live Reviews 38th Annual Detroit Jazz Festival
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: September 15, 2017
Read "Arturo Sandoval at the Blue Note" Live Reviews Arturo Sandoval at the Blue Note
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: October 30, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!