Frode Gjerstad Trio - The Other Side

Richard Moule, Signal To Noise

The trio of Norwegian alto saxophonist Frode Gjerstad, drummer Hamid Drake and bassist William Parker don't get together often, but on this recording from 2000, they are heard at the top of their game. The jaunty "First Cut" transitions from straight bop to a latin groove, recalling Sonny Rollin's legendary '50s albums. Here Gjerstad, who has a dry, slightly acid tone, lingers on a phrase, repeats it, explores it insistently, while Drake and Parker's rhythmic innovations challenge Gjerstad every step of the way. The self explanatory "Ballade" showcases Parker's long arco bowing supported by Gjerstad's breathy single note accompaniment. For the title track (The Other Side), Parker picks up the flute, acquitting himself well, while Drake on hand drums lays down a percolating African rhythm. Up to this point, this album has stayed within the confines of an understood groove, but the closer, "The Duo", Gjerstad and Parker engage in a drum-free high wire exchange: Parker's brisk, complex runs dance with Gjerstad's sharp, knotted bursts and clipped notes.