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First Detail

RCD 2166CD RCD 2166CD

If anybody deserves to be called a living legend in Norwegian free jazz it must surely be saxophone, flute, and clarinet player Frode Gjerstad. Since the late '70s, he has been central on more than fifty records and played with a number of prominent free jazz musicians including Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, Peter Brötzmann, Louis Moholo, Han Bennink, and Paal Nilssen-Love. Foreningen norske jazzmusikere named Gjerstad Jazz Musician of the Year in 1996, and the Norwegian Jazz Forum awarded him with the Buddyprisen in 2008. He founded Detail in 1981 with close friend Eivin One Pedersen (1956-2012) and legendary free jazz drummer and Spontaneous Music Ensemble founder John Stevens (1940-1994). The group became a quartet with the addition of bassist Johnny Dyani, and toured of Norway in March of 1982. They performed at the Molde International Jazz Festival in the summer and toured again in the fall. Pedersen left the group after the tour, and the remaining trio of Gjerstad, Stevens, and Dyani went straight to Stavanger and recorded Detail's first two albums, Backwards and Forwards/Forwards and Backwards (1983) and Okhela «To Make a Fire» (1984). So the intended quartet never got to make a record, but some live recordings do exist. This recording of the first performance from the fall 1982 tour, at the Henie-Onstad Art Centre outside Oslo, captures not the full quartet, but a variation on the trio: Gjerstad, Pedersen, and Stevens, without Dyani, who couldn't make it to the gig. The main reason for the delay in releasing this historic recording, according to Gjerstad, is that he couldn't listen to it because there were too many feelings involved. After the tour, his close friend Pedersen suddenly left the group, Dyani died in 1986, then Stevens in 1994 and Pedersen in 2012. There was also some doubt about his own playing, but after finally listening to the tapes, he realized how good everything was. It's almost unbelievable that Pedersen had just turned 26 at the time of this recording. Stevens is also incredible, quite different from what one might be used to from the Spontaneous Music Ensemble -- more open, possibly. Gjerstad is, as always, himself. At a time when most Norwegian sax players wanted to be Jan Garbarek, Gjerstad followed his own nose. Frode Gjerstad: tenor and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet, alto flute; Eivin One Pedersen: piano and keyboards; John Stevens: drums.