Frode Gjerstad

Hello, Goodbye

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The tapes for this recording (made on a portable DAT recorder) were thankfully discovered by Frode Gjerstad in 2000, eight years after the performance, and brought to disc by producer Martin Davidson. What a find they are. This early documentation of the Norwegian saxophonist with John Stevens and Derek Bailey provides more than an hour of outstanding free improvisation. At this stage in his career, Gjerstad was heavily influenced by Evan Parker, but he was nonetheless more than beginning to develop his own sound. He was engaging somewhat in extended techniques and he kept a focused perspective. Derek Bailey is stunning on amplified guitar, his voice powerful and confident. John Stevens, too, is in good form, with his mini-trumpet a particular delight. The end of "Three Two Three Two One" sounds annoyingly like extended feedback, but otherwise, the whole has a very serious, British feel, with an emphasis on little sounds, lowered volumes, and playful interaction. In retrospect, while there is little new here, there is an exciting quality to the live performance that is captured in surprisingly high fidelity. Gjerstad was clearly appreciated by Stevens and Bailey, both of whom recognized his talent and style. A good example of the ability of music to cross geographical and cultural lines, this recording deserves a wide circulation, and it should add to the reputation of one of Norway's finest performers.

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