Detail was a largely free improvising trio (occasionally a quartet with the addition of cornetist Bobby Bradford) led by Norwegian saxophonist Frode Gjerstad with drummer John Stevens and, until his death in 1986, the great South African bassist Johnny Dyani. The second set of this two-record release adds trumpeter Harry Beckett and reed player Courtney Pine to the mix. Though freely improvised, there's more of a "jazz" sense in much of this music than in that by others on the British free music scene. In fact, if forced to make a comparison, it often sounds a bit like an updating of Ornette Coleman's trio with David Izenson and Charles Moffitt, with a similar looseness of approach and elasticity of time. A couple of pieces are composed by Stevens, including the bluesy "ED" (inspired by Eric Dolphy); with the trio fleshed out to a sextet on this composition, the group achieves a lovely, liquid sound reminiscent of early Art Ensemble of Chicago. It's very interesting to hear the youthful Pine, who would go on to far more commercial ventures, in such a free setting; his bass clarinet work on "ED" is fairly striking and causes one to regret his subsequent path. Ness is a fine, relaxed recording, offering British free jazz of the less frenetic sort and well worth going to the trouble of seeking out.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Brian Olewnick