Born: March 24, 1948 Primary Instrument: Sax, alto
FRODE GJERSTAD was born in Stavanger, Norway, 24-03- 1948. He started trying to play improvised music as a trumpeter in 1968. When he moved to Lund in Sweden (1971 to 1975) he got a chance to meet, talk and play with musicians interested in this music. He had at that time started playing tenor saxophone (1969).
After he came back to Stavanger in 1975 he started collaborating with keyboardist Eivin One Pedersen. Together, they explored many different aspects of improvised music, as a duo or with others, but it was not until 1981, when they first played with John Stevens, that he had a real chance to feel what a dedicated musicians can do to the music-making.
At the early stage of his career, he choose mainly to play with international musicians because there was no tradition in Norway for the free music. However, after the club Blå opened in Oslo in 1996, a good number of younger musicians are now picking up on the music.
His relationship with British drummer, John Stevens which started in -81 and lasted up until his death in -94, was of great importance both musically as well as on a personal level. Through Stevens, he was introduced to some of the finest British improvisers and got to know their way of playing. Together, they led the trio “Detail” starting with Johnny Dyani on bass. And after Johnny died in -86, with Kent Carter.
He has also been active, running a larger group of mostly Norwegian musicians, the Circulasione Totale Orchestra. He started the group using electric instruments and modern rock- oriented rhythms. He has used the band to present his own compositions as well as a workshop and a place for young people to get to know free music. The band presented a commissioned work at the Molde Festival in -89 with a 13 man band combining free improvisations, compositions as well as rapping and scratching.(Three horns, three bassists, three drummers, accordeon, guitar a rapper and a DJ). The Circulasione Totale Orchestra is a powerful ever-changing band.
But it�'s not easy to keep such a big group together. In 1998 he decided to keep the core of the band which at that time was Paal Nilssen-Love on drums and Øyvind Storesund on bass and try to develop that sound. It became Frode Gjerstad Trio. So far the trio has toured Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Polen, Italy, Austria, Portugal, England, Canada and the United States.
He has received several grants from various foundations and has been very active in the Norwegian Jazzmusicians Federation as well as in the committee for the Norwegian Contemporary Music Federation. Voted Jazz Musician of the Year in Norway, 1997. Part of the price was a concert where he could freely choose which musicians to use. This was the first meeting with Hamid Drake and William Parker. The concert became a tour of Scandinavia in -97 and the US in 2000.
US Pianist Borah Bergman has also been important to Frode. They first met in -94 and have played as a duo and also as trio with Evan Parker and later Peter Brøtzmann. Borah has been a great inspiration and a challenge over the years!
English bassist Nicholas Stephens first played with Frode in 1984. He played electric bass at the time, but it was not until after John Stevens died in 1994 that they started working together as “Calling Signals”. First with a tour of England in 1995 with Paul Rutherford and Terje Isungset. And in 1996 with Louis Moholo and Danish guitarist, Hasse Poulsen. The latest version of the group has been with accordionist Eivin One Pederesen and Paal Nilssen-Love or Tony Marsh on drums. Frode also met and worked with US percussionist Kevin Norton in 2004 and they have found a common ground. They have a trio with Nicholas Stephens: Instinctual Eye.
Electronic music started to make an impact when he met Lasse Marhaug. They have played some concerts together and made some recordings. Lasses sounds have opened up a whole new territory of possibilities and came at a time when Frode started playing clarinets. A very fruitful combination!
Another side of the electronic thing was the group Ultralyd which was Frodes idea: to bring in a loud powerful electric bass with drums, guitar and reeds. After about a year, he left the band because the sound level was unbearable for the old man.! And he left it to the youngsters to decide how loud the band should be. Still, he has continued playing with Morten, Anders and Kjetil in other projects.
His latest project is a quartet with US reed-man Sabir Mateen, Paal Nilssen-Love and Danish electric bassist, Peter Friis- Nielsen.
Released recordings as leader/co-leader:
Backwards and Forwards,( Stevens, Dyani, Gjerstad) Impetus,
Okhela, (Stevens, Dyani , Gjerstad) Affinity, London -84
NESS (Dbl. LP)
Way it goes/dance of the Soul,(
In Time Was, (Stevens,Dyani,Bradford,Gjerstad)Circulasione
Totale, Stavanger -90
Less More, (Stevens, K. Carter, B. Bang, Gjerstad)Circulasione
Last Detail (Gjerstad, Stevens and Kent Carter) Cadence USA -
First Detail Backwards and Forwards (CD version)
Circulasione Totale Orchestra:
ACCENT, (Stevens, Kleive etc. 10 musicians) Odin,Oslo-89
ENTEN ELLER, Circulasione Totale, Stavanger-93
Recycling Grieg. Circulasione Totale.Stavanger -96
Borealis, Cadence, USA, -98
Open Port (12 piece international band) ) Circ. Totale,
Bandwith 3-CD box (12 piece international band) Rune
Grammofon, Oslo -09
PhilaOslo 2-CD set (12 piece international band) Stavanger
2011 CT 12
with William Parker/Hamid Drake
Seeing N.Y. from the Ear(Gjerstad,R. Bakr, W. Parker)
Cadence, USA -96
Remember to forget (Gjerstad, W.Parker, H.Drake)Circ. Totale,
Ultima (Gjerstad, William Parker, Hamid Drake) Cadence, USA -
The other side (Gjerstad, W. Parker, H. Drake) Ayler rec.
On Reade Street (Gjerstad, W. Parker, H. Drake) FMR,
with John Stevens
Sunshine (Gjerstad, John Stevens) Impetus, London -96
Let´s just keep on playing ( Gjerstad, Stevens) FMR London -
with Borah Bergman
Ikosa Mura (Gjerstad,Bradford,Bergman, P. akLaff) Cadence
Rivers in Time (Gjerstad, Borah Bergman) FMR, London -03
with Paal Nilssen-Love
The Blessing Light (Gjerstad, Storesund, Nilssen-Love)
Cadence, USA -01
Last first (Gjerstad, Storesund, Nilssen-Love) Falcata-Galia
Sharp knives cut deeper(Gjerstad, Brøtz, Storesund, N.-Love)
splasc(H), Italy -03
St. Louis (Gjerstad, Storesund, Nilssen-Love) FMR, London -03
mothers & fathers & (Gjerstad, Storesund, Nilssen-
Love)Circ.Tot. Stavanger -06
nothing is forever (Gjerstad, Storesund, Nilssen-Love)Circ.Tot.
Day before One (Gjerstad, Nilssen-Love) Tyyfus, Helsinki -07
Reknes (Bradford, Gjerstad, Haaker Flaten, Nilssen-Love)
Circulasione Totale -09
Gromka (Gjerstad, Nilssen-Love) Not Two, Polen 2010
MIR(Gjerstad, Strøm, Nilssen-Love) Stavanger 2011 CT13
East of West (Gjerstad, Strøm, Nilssen-Love) Stavanger 2011
with Peter Brøtzmann
Invisible Touch ( Gjerstad with Peter Brøtzmann) Cadence,
SORIA MORIA( Gjerstad with Peter Brøtzmann) FMR London -
with Lasse Marhaug
TOU (Gjerstad, Lasse Marhaug ) FMR, London -03
Red Edge(Gjerstad, Lasse Marhaug ) Sunship, USA -04
with Derek Bailey
Hello goodbye (Gjerstad, Stevens, Bailey) Emanem, London -01
Nearly a D (Gjerstad, Bailey) Emanem, London -03
with Steve Hubback
Demystify (Gjerstad, Hubback) FMR, London -00
One foot moving(Gjerstad, Hubback), Utech, USA 2005
One foot moving - reinterpretations. (Gjerstad,Hubback),
with Kevin Norton
No definitive ( Kevin Norton, vibraphone, Gjerstad) FMR,
Instinctual Eye (Gjerstad,Norton, N. Stephens,)Barking Hoop,
The walk (Gjerstad, Norton, E. O. Pedersen) FMR, London -06
Antioch(Gjerstad, Norton, Paul Rogers, bass) Ayler recs -07
Tipples(Gjerstad, Norton, David Watson, guitar) FMR, london
Ultralyd (K.Brandsdal, Hana, Olsen, Gjerstad) FMR,london -04
Chromosome gun (K.Brandsdal, Hana, Olsen,
with Calling Signals/Nick Stephens
North Sea Drift (Gjerstad, Nick Stephens) Falcata-Galia, USA -
Calling Signals(Moholo, Stephens, Poulsen, Gjerstad)
Loosetorque, London -05
Dreams in dreams( Gjerstad, Stephens, N.-Love, E. O.
Pedersen) FMR, London -05
This that and the other (L. Coxhill,Stephens,Gjerstad)
Live in the UK (Gjerstad, Stephens, T. Marsh, E. O. Pedersen)
FMR, London -06
Theremite Club(Gjerstad,Stephens, Hession dr) Loosetorque,
Calling Signals 08 (Lol Coxhill, Gjerstad, Stephens, P. Nilssen-
Love) Loosetorque, London -
QUIDDITY (Gjerstad, Stephens, Louis Moholo-Moholo)
Loosetorque, London -09
A winter´s tour (Gjerstad, Stephens,Nilssen-Love,Jon Corbett,
trp)Loosetorque, London -11
From cafe Sting(Gjerstad, Stephens, Louis Moholo-Moholo,
Eivin One Pedersen, acc)
Loosetorque, London -11
with Jeff Hayden Shurdut
Everything Is Divisible By 1(Gjerstad, Shurdut), Nolabel 2367,
Behind The White Fence (Gjerstad, D. Carter, Shurdut ),
Nolabel 5160. USA 2006
The Organic Plastic Band (Gjerstad, Shurdut ) Nolabel 5665,
Hair of The Dog (Gjerstad, Shurdut ) NoLabel, USA, 2006,
Industrial Funk (Shurdut, Gjerstad) Deep Cleansing, USA 2008
All The Things You Are (Shurdut, Gjerstad, Cummins, Osborne)
Ayler records 2009
with Mark Sanders - John Edward
The Welsh Chapel (Gjerstad,Edwards, Sanders) Cadence, USA
Bergen (Gjerstad,Edwards, Sanders) FMR, england -09
Frode Gjerstad Solo / Duo / Trio / Quartet etc.
Through the Woods (Gjerstad, Bradford, Morris, Baker) CIMP,
Ism (Frode Gjerstad solo saxophone) CirculasioneTotale.
Shadows and Lights(Gjerstad, Isungset)FMR, London -02
Mayday (Gjerstad, Paul Hession) FMR, London -04
The longest day ( N.H.Asheim -organ, Gjerstad) FMR, London -
Born to collapse( Hana, Olsen, Gjerstad, Zanussi) Circulasione
Good question (Gjerstad-Sabir Mateen) FMR, London -06
Antiphonic (Gjerstad, Kjetil Brandsdal, bass) Utech, USA -06
The cello quartet(Gjerstad, N.-Love, A. Sen, F. Lonberg-Holm)
FMR, London -06
A sound sight( Gjerstad, Wilber Morris,bass, Rashid Bakr, dr)
Ayler recs -07
Sound gathering(Mateen, Swell, Gjerstad,Jackson,Gould) Not
two, Polen, 2010
Sextett(Gjerstad, Skaset, Grenager, Mølstad, Moe)
Conradsound, Oslo 2010
Sugar Maple(Lonberg-Holm, Zerand, Gjerstad) FMR, London
VCDC (Motland,voc, Solberg, dr, Lonberg-Holm,cello, Gjerstad,
cl) Hispid 001, Oslo 2011
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