Home » Jazz Articles » Bobby Bradford / Frode Gjerstad Quartet: The Delaware River


Album Review

Bobby Bradford / Frode Gjerstad Quartet: The Delaware River


Sign in to view read count
Bobby Bradford / Frode Gjerstad Quartet: The Delaware River
This live date from Philadelphia in 2014 forms the seventh in a string of releases by the Bobby Bradford and Frode Gjerstad quartet. Their association dates back to 1986 when cornetist Bradford first encountered Norwegian reedman Gjerstad as part of co-operative group Detail, convened by drummer John Stevens. All of that experience shows in the relaxed but practiced concision as they navigate through four seat of the pants negotiations on this limited edition LP. It's one of their best showings since Through The Woods (CIMP, 1997), and shares similar qualities in its openness, organic evolution, and the close balance of playing and listening.

On cornet, Bradford's blues-infused lyricism and fanfares color the whole session. He favors short urgent phrases, mixing reveilles and folk imbued lines which are reminiscent of his old mentor Ornette Coleman. Gjerstad's longer drawn out legato on alto and clarinet veer between keening, yelping and querulous by turns. Norwegian bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten maintains a thrumming undercurrent which both preserves a pulse and provides a steady commentary. Chicago-based drummer Frank Rosaly in this setting is a revelation. Although busy his combination of tappy rat-a-tat and timbral variation allows the music to breathe and doesn't obscure the contributions of his bandmates.

But at the heart of the concern is the winning contrast between Bradford rootedness and Gjerstad's abstraction. A quicksilver passage for a capella horns during "Delaware" illustrates the interaction perfectly. Elsewhere Rosaly and Bradford sound like they are channeling drums and bugle corps repertory, though in fragmented and extended format. In a surprising change of pace, the final "1965 Was Amazing" opens with disconcerting blues shouting in a frayed voice, uncredited but likely Bradford, shadowed by upper register pizzicato bass and Gjerstad's gentle alto which together intensify the air of vulnerability. A sequence of muted cornet and saxophone follows, once more communing in the conversational give and take which characterizes this splendid album.

Track Listing

Sailing Up The; Delaware; River In; 1965 Was Amazing.


Bobby Bradford: cornet; Frode Gjerstad: alto saxophone, Bb clarinet; Ingebrigt Håker Flaten: bass; Frank Rosaly: drums.

Album information

Title: The Delaware River | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: NoBusiness Records

Post a comment about this album

Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.



In the Towns
Jay Rattman
Carnival Celestial
Alexander Hawkins Trio With Neil Charles And...
Scatter: On A Clear Day Like This
Phil Minton / Pat Thomas / Dave Tucker / Roger...
Two Hours After Midnight
Louise Dodds and Elchin Shirinov


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.