The world of Euro-improv has had the good fortune to be blessed for many years with two consummate artists, Frode Gjerstad and Paal Nilssen-Love. After 18 years of on-and-off collaborations, gigs and improvisational occasions, it was a great idea to get the two together as a duet in 2008 to explore their mutual resonances and express the resplendant "now" of their artistic development.
And so such a meeting took place in the CIMP Spirit Room. The result is the CD Side By Side (CIMP 3388). It's a wide-ranging exchange of free ideas in seven segments, Paal of course manning the drums in his effervescent, stylistically distinctive way, Frode coming through with his own originally charged complements on alto, clarinet and bass clarinet.
This is music with plenty of teeth. It is a chance to hear the two engage in spontaneous interchanges without the safety net of a larger ensemble. They do not falter and they do do seem anything less than inspired throughout.
Frode weaves sonically vibrant and noted discourse of a very fluid sort; Paal hurls the music forward with tumbling, sonically exact barrages of energy and arrhythmic invention.
It's a very good go, an important documentation of two masters in a slice of time, and it's avant improvisation that should go quite far in satisfying those lovers of freedom sounds everywhere.