Frode Gjerstad

Norway; saxophones.

Frode Gjerstad is one of the few Norwegian musicians playing modern improvised music outside the 'ECM-school'. He has chosen to play with foreign musicians because there is no tradition in Norway for free improvised music.

His relationship with John Stevens which started in 1981 and lasted up until Stevens' death in 1994 was of great importance both musically as well as on a personal level. Through Stevens, he became acquainted with the playing of some of the finest British improvisers. His longstanding group with Stevens, 'Detail', started as a trio in 1981 with keyboardist Eivin One Pedersen, though Johnny Mbizo Dyani came in on bass in 1982 and Pedersen left later that year. The group played mainly as a trio until Dyani's death in 1986, though they did invite occasional guests to fill out the lineup; they undertook a tour of Britain in 1986 as a quartet with Bobby Bradford on cornet. Bradford did another tour with Detail with Paul Rogers on bass and then one with Kent Carter on bass; a quartet tour of Norway was organised with Billy Bang in 1989. The group then continued as a trio with Carter till 1994 when Stevens died.

Frode Gjerstad has also been active, running a group of very young Norwegian musicians, Circulasione Totale Orchestra, where he is dealing with electric instruments and modern rock-oriented rhythms. He has used the band to present his own compositions as well as a workshop and place for young people to get to know free improvisation. The band presented a commissioned work at the Molde Festival in 1989 with a 13 man band combining free improvisastions, compositions as well as rapping and scratching (three horns, three bassists, three drummers, accordion, guitar, a rapper and a scratcher).

His current groups include: the Frode Gjerstad Trio with William Parker,bass and Rashid Bakr, drums; the Circulasione Totale Orchestra with young Norwegian musicians; and a quartet completed by Hasse Poulsen, guitars, Nick Stephens, bass, and Louis Moholo, drums. Frode Gjerstad has received several grants from differnt foundations and has been very active in the Norwegian Jazzmusicians Federation as well as in the committee for the Norwegian Contemporary Music Federation. He runs his own label, Circulasione Totale.


Further information

LoConte, Vittorio. Interview with Frode Gjerstad available in full text on this site.


1982/85, Backwards and forwards/Forwards and backwards, Impetus IMP LP 18203/CD 18203. Detail.
1984, Sunshine, Impetus 18428. First duo with John Stevens.
1985, Okhela Affinity. Detail. 4025. Circulasione Totale Orchestra.
1986, In time was, Circulasione Totale CD 860706. Detail.
1986, Ness Impetus IMP LP 28509. Detail Plus.
1986, Way it goes/Dance of the soul Impetus IMP LP 18611. Detail Plus.
1987, Accent, ODIN NJ
1989/90, Less more, Circulasione Totale CT CD 909089. Detail.
1992, Enten eller, Circulasione Totale CT CD 199208. Circulasione Totale Orchestra.
1992, Hello goodbye, Emanem 4065. Gjerstad/Bailey/Stevens.
1994, Keep on playing, FMR CD162-i0405. Frode Gjerstad/John Stevens.
1994/1995, Last Detail - Live at the Cafe Sting, Cadence CJR 1068.
1995, Recycling Grieg, Circulasione Totale CT CD 199505. Circulasione Totale Orchestra.
1996, Seeing New York from the ear, Cadence CJR 1069.
1996, Calling signals, Loose Torque LT004. Frode Gjerstad/Louis Moholo/Hasse Poulsen/Nick Stephens.
1997, remember to forget, Circulasione Totale CT 199710. Trio with William Parker/Hamid Drake.
1997, North Atlantic drift, Falçata-Galia FALÇ-0024/Loose Torque LT002. Duo with Nick Stephens.
1997, Through the woods, CIMP 159.
1997, Ikosa mura, Cadence CJR 1089. Quartet with Bobby Bradford, Borah Bergman, Pheeroan akLaff.
1997, Ultima Cadence CJR 1108. Trio with William Parker and Hamid Drake.
1998, Borealis Cadence CJR 1091. With Circulasione Totale Orchestra.
1998, Invisible touch, Cadence CJR 1099. Duo with Peter Brötzmann.
1998, ISM, Circulasione Totale CT 240653. Solo.
1999, Demystify, FMR CD67-V1299. Duo with Steve Hubback.
1999, Last first, Falçata-Galia FALÇ-0007. Trio with Øyvind Storesund and Paal Nilssen-Love.
2000, The blessing light: for John Stevens, Cadence CJR 1126. Trio with Øyvind Storesund and Paal Nilssen-Love.
2001, Shadows and lights, FMR CD89-1101. Duo with Terje Isungset.
2001, Sharp knives cut deeper, Splasc(H) CDH 850.2. Trio with Øyvind Storesund and Paal Nilssen-Love plus Peter Brötzmann.
2002, Nearly a D, Emanem 4087. Gjerstad/Bailey.
2002, St. Louis, FMR CD122-i0503. Trio with Øyvind Storesund and Paal Nilssen-Love.
2002, Rivers in time, FMR CD130-i0803. Borah Bergman/Frode Gjerstad.
2002, The Welsh chapel, Cadence CJR 1161. Trio with John Edwards and Mark Sanders.
2002, TOU, FMR CD110-i0203. Duo with Lasse Marhaug.
2002, Red edge, Breathmint Records BM96/Carbon Records CR92/Gameboy Records GB55/Little Mafia Records LM035/Sunship Records SUN38. Duo with Lasse Marhaug.
2003, Soria Moria, FMR CD126-i0603. Peter Brötzmann/Frode Gjerstad.
2003, MayDay, FMR CD144-i0404. Frode Gjerstad/Paul Hession.
2003, This that and the other, Loose Torque LT003. Lol Coxhill/Frode Gjerstad/Nick Stephens.
2003, Live at the Termite Club, Loose Torque LT009. Frode Gjerstad/Nick Stephens/Paul Hession.
2004?, No definitive, FMR CD150-i0604. Frode Gjerstad/Kevin Norton.
2004, The shortest night, FMR CD155-i1204. Frode Gjerstad/Nils Henrik Asheim.
2004, Ultralyd, FMR CD154-i0704. Ultralyd.
2005, Born in Brooklyn, Barking Hoop BKH-010. Instinctual Eye.
2007, Quiddity, Loose Torque LT019. Gjerstad/Stevens/Moholo-Moholo.
2007, From Cafe Sting, Loose Torque LT020. Calling signals 07.
2008, From Cafe Oto, Loose Torque LT018. Calling signals 08.
2008, A winter's tour, Loose Torque LT021. Calling signals 09.
2008/2009/2010, Different times, Loose Torque LT022. Frode Gjerstad/Nick Stephens.
2010, Kampen, NoBusiness Records NBLP 51. Bobby Bradford/Frode Gjerstad/Ingebrigt Håker Flaten/Paal Nilssen-Love.
2013, Blood samples, FMR CD395-0615. The Cabinet Trio.

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