Frode Gjerstad Trio + Steve Swell

Bop Stop
(Clean Feed)

The creative music scene in Norway deservedly is celebrated for its depth and transcendence of generic boundaries, with an ever-growing community of musicians who’ve developed in the country’s sophisticated music conservatories. But the music can err on the side of good taste, with tender-footed musicians hesitant to get down in the trenches of white-knuckled improvisation. In that regard, alto saxophonist Frode Gjerstad is a paragon, a veteran free-jazz advocate and freewheeling blower who’s never forsaken his post-bop routes.

For this live recording, his working trio is joined by garrulous New York trombonist Steve Swell. On the title track, which erupts from a frenzy of notes strummed by bassist Jon Rune Strøm, the front line dances over the ferocious grooves. The musicians move in and out of the action at will, forging a protean attack, deeply agile and sleek. The pieces all contain moments of conversational repose and intense fury, and nothing indicates how locked in the group is like “Post Stop,” where a galloping groove collapses in a hilarious rip-snort conclusion. Live recordings of free improvisation inevitably lack some of the heat produced in the moment, but Bop Stop expresses that spark to great effect.



On Sale Now
May 2019
Branford Marsalis
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