Frode Gjerstad & Paal Nilssen-Love are good Jazz students – I say this because I use the term ‘Student’ to mean a musician, of any age, who is seeking to push the boundaries of their knowing and striving to improve their musicianship. Although the preceding sentence may seem like a cliché, it is grounded in the truth.

Jazz is a language, a very distinct musical language, and like any language it has it’s own vocabulary, alphabet, rules of grammer, conventions of use and common themes.The easiest way to learn a language is to learn it through repetition. As we learn to converse with others we not only expand our vocabulary  but we gain an intuitive understanding of pronunciation and grammar. Each time a jazz musician is playing with another jazz musician he or she is conversing in that Jazz language.

To learn this new Jazz language we must listen to and eventually play with jazz musicians who have mastered it – if not we must rely on recordings: and I cannot recommend “Nearby Faraway” highly enough as an entry point in to Free Jazz.

Frode Gjerstad & Paal Nilssen-Love’s “Nearby Faraway” marks 25 years of close musical partnership between Norwegian reeds player Frode Gjerstad and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love.

Their journey started in 1992 when Paal joined Frode’s Circulasione Totale Orchestra and continued in various settings as a duo, the Frode Gjerstad Trio and different quartet line-ups, counting now 26 CD’s and LP’s documenting their work. Nearby Faraway is dedicated to Frode’s close friend and musical colleague, pianist and accordion player Elvin One Pedersen (1956-2012), who has played with Gjerstad on the debut recording of the Detail trio (with drummer John Stevens) and later with the Circulasione Totale Orchestra and the Calling Signals quartet, with Paal.

The release lulls you with a calm start only to set a burning tempo – this is a good entry point to the world of free jazz. Nearby Faraway captures the always evolving collaborative interplay of Frode and Paal, more intimate this time, more open and varied but still enjoys the duo intense energy. Nearby Faraway is now available on Paal’s own PNL Records label.