Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Gjerstad, Frode

Gjerstad, Frode, alto sax, clarinet, bass clarinet; b. Stavanger, Norway, 24 March 1948. With his wife Judith, he has two children, Jon and Camilla. Self-taught as a musician, Gjerstad has chosen to play mainly with international musicians because there was not a tradition in Norway for playing free-jazz.  However, a number of younger musicians are now picking up on the music over the last few years.

His relationship with British drummer John Stevens, which started in 1981 and lasted up until his death in 1994, was of great importance both musically as well as on a personal level. Through Stevens, he was introduced to some of the finest British improvisers and got to know their way of playing quite well.After 1994, he has played with a number of US musicians like Borah Bergmann, Hamid Drake, William Parker  and Rashid Bakr  as well as with German Peter Brotzmann. He has also built his first all-Norwegian trio with Oyvind Storesund and Paal Nilssen-Love with whom he has toured Europe and North-America.

Since 1984, he has also been active, running a group of young Norwegian musicians, the 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 improvisations. The band presented a commissioned work at the Molde Festival in 1989 with a 13 man band combining free improvisations, compositions as well as rapping and scratching (three horns, three bassists, three drummers, accordion, guitar. a rapper and a scratcher).

He has received several grants from various foundations and has been very active in the Norwegian Jazzmusicians Federation as well as in the committee for the Norwegian Contemporary Music Federation. He was voted Jazz Musician of the Year in Norway,  1997.

Backwards and Forwards (1983); Okhela (1984); NESS (1987); Way it goes/dance of the Soul (1989); In Time Was (1990); Less More (1991); Last Detail (1996); First Detail  Backwards and Forwards (2000); Circulasione Totale Orchestra: Accent (1989), Enten Eller (1993), Recycling Grieg (1996); Borealis (1998); with Pether Brotzmann: Invisible Touch (1999), Sharp knives cut deeper (2003), Blix (2003); Sunshine (1996); Through the Woods (1998); Ikosa Mura (1998); Ism (1998); The Blessing Light (2001); Demystify (2000); Last First (2002); North Sea Drift (2002); Shadows and Lights (2002); TOU (2003); Calling Signals (2003); Songs (2003); Metal and wood (2003)
As sideperson:
William Parker-Hamid Drake: Seeing New York from the Ear (1996), Remember to forget (1998), Ultima (1999), The Other Side (2003); Derek Bailey: Hello Goodbye (2001), Visiting (2003)

Contact information:
Frode Gjerstad
Gandsveien 15
4017 Stavanger
+ 47 5158 6081

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