Calling signals 09 A Winter’s Tour

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

1. Nine Souls 44:56
2. Five Souls (plus the barman) 17:26

Artwork Fay Stephens

Loose Torque LT021 Category

I recorded this music at Colchester Arts Centre which is housed in the converted chuch of, the splendidly named St Mary At The Walls. A large space, but unfortunately, on this occasion, we didn’t attract much of a congregation. Nick Stephens

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.
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! jazzowy alchemik

The extended tracks enable the band to stretch, reinvent, and generate a moveable aural feast. Microtonal, asymmetrical and revolving like a jagged loop with fractured incisions and expansive four-way dialogues, the music also contains an abundance of dips and spikes, restarts, pauses and thematic regenerations.
Performing on clarinet, Gjerstad nips and claws his way through the beginning of “Nine Souls,” and slashes a path atop Stephens’ booming, pliant lines and Nilssen-Love’s cymbal textures and frothy drum grooves. Trumpeter Jon Corbett follows suit as the band progressively raises the pitch amid jagged detours and laconic doses of humor and wit.
The quartet subdivides into low-key duet interludes, the improvisational aspects a principle factor, although the musical approach and metrics appear to have been given some upfront thought. It’s not about rambling or superfluous instances of entwining workouts, equally noticeable on “Five Souls (plus the barman),” which rotates between a fast-paced burner impetus with undulating rhythmic flows, and medium-tempo exchanges. Simply put, the band effectively takes care of business sans any mysterious agendas or trivialities. GlennAstarita – All About Jazz

The few attendants were treated with the same unbending principles and respect characterizing all that gets published on this label. The querulous dissemination of anti-melodic commodities by Corbett and Gjerstad are pure joy for initiated ears, their cleverly challenging dialogues surely constituting the disc’s most conspicuous feature. Nilssen-Love displays the reasons for which the settlement of a drummer into a mere “jazz canon” equals killing any potential originality; irrepressible fantasy and absolute control on the infinitesimal subdivisions of a theoretical tempo strike like the bright colours of a summer beach’s umbrellas. Stephens confirms a substantial authority as far as the lower regions of the sonic spectrum are concerned; the sternness of his articulations – even when he seriously hits the strings to generate ungallant thuds – remains the source from which the whole flow of communication starts and, ultimately, the firm ground to base everything else on. Massimo Ricci – Touching Extremes
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D’emblée, même si serré à l’extrême, le mouvement est fluide : enchevêtrements de clarinette et de trompette, brides rythmiques entretenues. Maintenant, le retrait du batteur fait se libérer de nouveaux territoires. Le mouvement initial reviendra en fin d’improvisation, sur lequel s’ajouteront de denses figures : douceurs de clarinette et contrebasse mêlées s’opposant aux objets frottés par le percussionniste, solo de contrebasse inspirant à l’altiste de longues virées en ultra-aigu (Nine Souls).
Retour aux mêmes fondamentaux avec Five Souls : fluidité des souffles, offensive rythmique appuyée et courts mais constructeurs silences. Et l’aventure de s’achever aujourd’hui mais de continuer demain, ensemble ou avec d’autres, pour cet exemplaire Calling Signals. Luc Bouquet © Le son du grisli