Title:               Gromka

 By:                  Frode Gjerstad / Paal Nilssen Love

 Released in:   2010

 Format:          CD

 Catalog No:    MW 839-2

 Price :             12 EUR


1. Svirel [32:24]

2. Klopotec [09:29]

3. Ragija [25:19]



Frode Gjerstad - Alto saxophone, Bass & Bb Clarinet

Paal Nilssen-Love - Drums




This duo recording with fellow-countryman and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, was recorded a year ago at Klub Gromka in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Both musicians had already toured before this performance and that can be heard. the interaction is quite fun to listen to, rapid, telepathic even at moments, which is even clearer in an environment where everything is left to in-the-moment decisions. Gjerstad does fall back quite a lot on the higher registers, making music like excited birds in the trees, as said before. As Gjerstad describes it himself on his blog, about this performance : "Since we last played as a duo which was in August last year in the US where we played 13 gigs, I think the music has become more focused and freer. I have to admit that I think this has to do with the fact that I have been practising a bit more than before and therefor feel more relaxed when playing….".






It is hard to choose which duo partner of drummer Paal Nilssen-Love to favor over another, as there are simply so many to pick from. There are his collaborations with Ken Vandermark, heard on their Chicago Volume and Milwaukee Volume (Smalltown Superjazz, 2009); the fine Peter Brotzmann session, Woodcuts (Smalltown Superjazz, 2010); Mats Gustafsson’s Splatter (Smalltown Superjazz, 2007); or, a personal favorite, Joe McPhee’s Tomorrow Came Today (Smalltown Superjazz, 2008). Nilssen-Love can also be heard with Magnus Broo, Nils Henrik Asheim, John Butcher, Lasse Marhaug, Anders Hana, and, perhaps his longest sustained partner, multi-reedist Frode Gjerstad. The two have been collaborating for nearly 20 years in the Circulasione Totale Orchestra, the longstanding Gjerstad trio with bassist Øyvind Storesund, and in duo performance. The two Norwegian players speak the same language: free jazz. This date—a live session from Club Gromka in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in June 2008—delivers a torrent of forcefulness and passion which will not be surprising to their followers. As a drummer, Nilssen-Love eschews the jazz canon for a more disheveled pulse. He’s like a dinner guest that comes wearing a tuxedo with his shirt untucked and three days growth of beard. His beats are dynamic, yet asymmetrical. Paired with Gjerstad the sound is animated and buzzing. Gjerstad favors the upper registers here—even on his bass clarinet which, at times, is difficult to distinguish from his alto saxophone. With this music, the themes are dynamism and passion, and the two charm the crowd with their constant mutable nature. Gjerstad feels no need to tether Nilssen-Love’s playing to the ground. And likewise, the drummer responds to Gjerstad with his jumbled flurry of sticks and beat. This is music that grips by the throat from the first note. 


(Mark Corroto)