Bobby Bradford | Frode Gjerstad | Ingebrigt Håker Flaten | Paal Nilssen-Love | Kampen | No Business Records

Bobby Bradford – cornet | Frode Gjerstad – clarinets and alto sax | Ingebrigt Håker Flaten – bass | Paal Nilssen-Love – drums

All music by Gjerstad / Bradford / Håker Flaten / Nilssen-Love. Recorded live in concert on November 17th, 2010 at Kampenjazz, Oslo, Norway. Recorded and mixed by Frode Gjerstad. Mastered by Arūnas Zujus at MAMAstudios. Design by Oskaras Anosovas. Produced by Gjerstad / Bradford / Håker Flaten / Nilssen-Love. Produced by Danas Mikailionis. Co-producer – Valerij Anosov

Tracklist: Side A: 1. This Is 2. A Live Side B: 1. Recording From 2. Kampen, Oslo

Bobby Bradford | Photo by Mark Weber

Bobby Bradford | Photo by Mark Weber

Sometimes there are weird coincidences.

When we got new albums on our review list recently, many of them included reminiscences of the golden jazz eras in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Rob Mazurek’s Pulsar Quartet sometimes sounds like the seminal Miles Davis Quintet, Sam Rivers’ trio with Dave Holland and Barry Altschul brings back memories of his RivBea studio days, Michael Blake taps the great jazz-rock bands of the 70s, Joe McPhee’s plays “Naima” and “Round Midnight” on two new reissues, and even Wadada Leo Smith and Louis Moholo-Moholo salute the great Ancestors. Finally, west-coast-legend Bobby Bradford’s new album reminds one of the landmark Ornette Coleman Quartet with Don Cherry, Scott LaFaro and Ed Blackwell.

Somehow a circuit is complete here because Bradford has had a long history with Coleman. In 1953 he met him in Los Angeles and they played together and worked out some revolutionary notions for something completely new, but before any recordings were made, Bradford was drafted into the Air Force. Don Cherry took his place in Coleman’s group, and it was Cherry who left his marks on The Shape of Jazz to Come and This Is Our Music. Then Bradford rejoined Coleman’s group in 1961, a period during which the group did not record and performed publicly infrequently. Only in the early 1970s and 80s he appeared on Coleman’s Science Fiction and Broken Shadows.

On Kampen, which features 78-year-old Bradford on cornet, Frode Gjerstad on sax and clarinet, Ingebrigt Håker-Flaten on bass, and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums, he seems to revive the music of Coleman’s band with new combatants. There are marvelous moments when Bradford and Gjerstad soar backed up by one of Europe’s best rhythm groups (you will be surprised if you only know them from The Thing). Cornet and sax/clarinet pick up each other’s tunes and build upon them, mutually they are lighting up sparklers. Hardly ever have I heard musicians listening so closely to one another. Gjerstad once said that Bradford is “always trying to make him sound good” and that “he draws you into his music”. Fortunately, the band likes being in this territory. It is a wonderland bursting from elegant solos, you can find military march quotations and hardbop riffs played in unison, there is a deep knowledge about the history of jazz.

You feel like listening to a visionary band which is trying to blend Free Jazz with the original idea of Dixieland, the music swings (yes!) and it is totally open, freely improvised, harsh, and tender at the same time. The more you listen to it, the more details you find and the more you’ll like it. Shake on it!Martin Schray


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5 thoughts on “Bobby Bradford | Frode Gjerstad | Ingebrigt Håker Flaten | Paal Nilssen-Love | Kampen | No Business Records

  1. The best moments of the Bobby Bradford-John Carter group were tremendously exciting. With John Carter long gone all that has come to an end. Happily the immediacy and thrill of the quartet has a new counterpart in Kampen (No Business LP 51).

    Bobby Bradford charges forth, sounding very fit, Frode Gjerstad holds his own very effectively on clarinets and alto, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten does some excellent work on bass, and Paal Nilssen-Love prevails at the drums. Now that’s a heck of a group and they live up to their potential completely and nicely on this album.

    There’s the sort of freedom to be had here that has the interactive clout of four sympathetic, gifted and very creative individuals. The four-way dialog is fabulous, the two-horn front line getting a third “horn” in the excellent bass playing of Haker Flaten, with Nilssen-Love coming through as he always does with loose but driving, sonically sensitive drumming.

    It’s a beautiful LP, not to be missed. Bradford fans will not be disappointed. What a band.

  2. An inspired summit between 78-year-old West Coast cornettist Bobby Bradford and the younger Norwegian trio of clarinettist and alto player Frode Gjerstad, bassist Ingebrit Haker Flater and sticksman Paal Nilssen-Love.

    The session has a thrilling past-into-future feel, with Bradford applying Big Band-era wah effects and vocalisations to an avant-garde harmonic sensibility. Gjerstad is a brilliant foil, and Haker Flaten and Nilssen-Love, two-thirds of punk-jazzers The Thing, really swing here, combining hard bop and New Thing moves with lateral thinking and extended technique.

  3. Pour changer peut-être de leurs travaux en Circulasione Totale Orchestra, Bobby Bradford, Frode Gjerstad, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten et Paal Nilssen-Love donnèrent ce concert à quatre : Kampen, enregistré le 17 novembre 2010 à Oslo – ce que redisent les titres des quatre morceaux du vinyle : This Is / A Live / Recording From / Kampen, Oslo.

    Le cornet seul, puis à la clarinette opposée : Bradford et Gjerstad en inventifs retors profitent de l’entente de la paire rythmique – sur la solidité de Nilssen-Love, Håker Flaten élabore un jeu de contrebasse singulier qui accompagne et relance les vents tout en chantant en filigrane sa propre partition. Sur une aire de tempérance, Bradford passe à la sourdine moqueuse avant d’oser un air amusé qui fera le motif principal d’un jazz hésitant entre un bop poussé dans ses derniers retranchements (en date) et les phrases brèves d’un free commis d’office – tout recours agissant.

  4. If Kampen sounds like old friends settling down to chew the fat, then that’s because that’s exactly what’s happening. Norwegian reedman Frode Gjerstad has waxed ten discs in the company of veteran American cornetist Bobby Bradford since they first met on tour with drummer John Stevens in England in 1986. However, this 46-minute live LP stands as one of their best since Through The Woods (CIMP, 1997). All four cuts are spontaneous compositions, the product of collective listening and playing at a very high level. They generate an organic flow which draws on all the available permutations inherent in the foursome.

    The fervent interplay between the two horns is one of the enduring traits of their partnership. Bradford’s earthy cornet forms the perfect foil for Gjerstad’s sinuous spiraling clarinet and wiry alto saxophone. A stuttered reveille comprises the basic building block for the American, which he deploys in a variety of guises, from the breathy fragments in dialogue with Ingebrigt Haker Flaten’s muscular bass at the start of “This Is,” to the sprightly fanfares atop drummer Paal Nilssen-Love’s crisply rolled crescendos at the outset of “A Live.” Bradford’s insistent clipped phrases mesh well with Håker Flaten’s purposeful strum to create a firm foundation which allows the reedman and drummer to roam both more widely and wildly.

    Fine moments abound throughout. Gjerstad makes an explosive alto statement on “Recording From,” tonally diverse, exciting and unpredictable, while on “Kampen, Oslo” Bradford essays a quizzical lyricism, like someone whistling a half-remembered tune, all the while goosed by Nilssen-Love’s squally tattoo. On the same piece, the bassist steps out for a powerful plucked excursion, where his forthright physicality adds a percussive dimension to his woody melodicism. But notwithstanding the excellence of the individual parts, it is in the cockpit of intense group exchange that these four triumph.

  5. Brass player Bobby Bradford may be most well known for his association with fellow Texan Ornette Coleman. But he has had quite an admirable career on his own as a bandleader and an educator. His profile has been rising lately with the recent release of an excellent Mosaic Select consisting of the recordings of the band he co-led with clarinetist John Carter, and new recordings. This album is a collaborative effort with Bradford on cornet, Frode Gjerstad on clarinets and alto saxophone, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten on bass and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums. This is a collectively improvised album recorded live in concert on November 17th, 2010 at Kampenjazz, Oslo, Norway. The improvisation is broken into four parts wittily titled “This Is”, “A Live”, “Recording From”, “Kampen, Oslo.” The music is quite exciting and recorded in a way that shows the four musicians interacting in a deep seated and powerful fashion. Bradford and Gjerstad make for an inspired front line, swirling and sputtering while long time partners Haker-Flaten and Nilssen-Love are a superb rhythm team, stretching and kneading time as necessary. This is a limited edition of 300 records, so turntable owning improv lovers shouldn’t wait.

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