Label: Not Two
Medium: CD
Year: 2016

Availability: Out of stock



The world lost pianist Borah Bergman in 2012. The seemingly always underrated improvising musician would have celebrated his 90th birthday in December 2016. One can, of course, rediscover his music from a scarce number of recordings like his solo work; A New Frontier (Soul Note, 1983), and Meditations For Piano (Tzadik, 2003) or his collaborative recordings with Thomas ChapinEvan ParkerRoscoe Mitchell, and his two partners here Peter Brötzmann and Frode Gjerstad

This live recording from the July 1996, Molde International Jazz festival in Gjerstad's home country of Norway is being heard for the first time. The tape, a very high quality DAT recording, was stuffed away in the saxophonist's drawer for years. His (and our) recent discovery, documents the first meeting between Gjerstad and Brötzmann, and, of course, allows us more of Bergman's music. 

The three lengthy pieces chronicle three musicians creating a consensus, or, at least for free jazz, settling on a musical treaty. 

The three would eventually record with each other in differing combinations; Brötzmann, Bergman and Andrew Cyrille's Exhilaration (Soul Note, 1997) is outstanding as is the Gjerstad/Brötzmann session Sharp Knives Cut Deeper (Splasc(h) Records, 2003). 

The Left referred to in the title is for the pianist's legendary sinistral hand. He was an ambidextrous player, with the ability to generate ideas with both hands, seemingly independent of each other. His skills are on full display here. The opening track "Left Hand" acts as a sorting out. Brotzmann steamrolls his tenor to kick off the match. Soon Bergman matches strength-with-strength, and Gjerstad flexes, too. The first track mines mayhem with stretches of solo piano passages. 

"Left Us" is more sympathetic. The trio is more comfortable with each other's approach and they cooperate in making, let's not say a melody, as much as a song. The music making is reciprocal, as if the three have decided they are equals. Interestingly enough, the final and longest piece "Left Out" at nearly 25-minutes, doesn't include Bergman until halfway through. He is content to sit back and listen to Brötzmann and Gjerstad perform a chamber-like recital before he enters. The music follows the narrative arc of a well-read classic story. By  on allaboutjazz