Monday, September 12, 2011

Calling Signals 09 (Gjerstad, Corbett, Stephens, Nilssen-Love) - A Winter's Tour [Loose Torque]

Frode Gjerstad - clarinets and alto saxophone
Jon Corbett - trumpet, valve trombone and conch
Nick Stephens - double bass
Paal Nilssen-Love - percussion

Loose Torque Records 2011

This Norwegian/British quartet just lets it all loose on this live release with only two tracks yet over an hour of pure music (47 + 17 minutes). And the great quality of the registration allows you to fully absorb and appreciate the spontaneous creation, as if you were there in the audience, just with your eyes closed.
There's an entire debate to it but my opinion is that next to the live experience the live registration is the most direct listening experience, and there's an extra level of honesty, fidelity and truth to a live recording as it allows the musicians to express more freely, necessitates a more complex and immediate interactions (not only with the fellow musicians but also with the audience and the acoustic space that is very different to the usually neutral studio recording).

And throughtout the 47-mintes long "Nine Souls" and 17-minutes of "Nine Souls (plus barman)" these four musicians never hold back, making stories flow one after another, some of them explosive and terrifying, other mysterious and dark, others yet serene and fragile. Never overspoken, kept together by a focused narration, keeping the listener on toes as he's waiting excited to know what happens next.
Frode Gjerstad makes his clarinettes and alto flutter, Jon Corbett dialogues him with joyfull trumpet flurries and Paal Nilssen-Love enhances those with tricky polirythmics and percussion preparations. My special praise goes for the Nick Stephens as his playing presents some of the best double bass notes I've heard this year - well founded, deep wooden tone,  presenting both the muscle and finesse, sharp and to the point: he's playing glues everyone else together.
So here it is : one hour of uncensored musical story that travels in so many places that it's impossible to describe. Great playing, great musicianship, great connection - a pleasure for any free-jazz-improv fan's ears (with Corbett and Stephens keeping it more jazz for a nice balance).
Method in madness, fun in focus and the joy of exploration. Enjoy!

You can buy directly from the label here.

the excerpt from the UK tour during which the album was recorded, a good example of what to expect from the album:

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