frode gjerstad

frode gjerstad returns to the outside the spotlight series with VC/DC tonight at mecca.

Forgive the late notice, but if you are at all a fan of the Outside the Spotlight series that has been bringing world class improvisational and free jazz-based concerts to Lexington since 2002, then set aside tonight and Sunday evening. OTS founder Ross Compton has two fine performances on tap that will likely close out the series for 2013.

Tonight brings Norwegian clarinetist Frode Gjerstad back to Lexington. This time, though, his band will be the industrious quartet VC/DC. It features cellist and OTS mainstay Fred Lonberg-Holm along with two additional ambassadors from Norway – drummer Stale Liavik Solberg and vocalist Stine Janvin Motland.

Don’t mistake the presence of a singer as any kind of mainstream concession. Motland is credited on VC/DC’s two albums, the newest of which is Insult, not with vocals but with “voice.” As such, her wordless singing works as a fourth instrument in the band’s majestically fractured improvisations.

On Tap Sunday will be the trio of reed player Keefe Jackson and cellist Tomeka Reid, both regulars of the same fruitful Chicago improvisational music community Holm currently calls home, and Swiss bass clarinetist/tenor saxophonist Christoph Erb.

Jackson has been a frequent OTS visitor over the years, having played here as a member of the Chicago Luzern Exchange, The Aram Shelton Quartet and Fast Citizens (the latter is a unique Chicago collective that alternates leadership roles with each album; Jackson led the debut lineup of the band). Erb, on the other hand, has devoted an entire series of recordings on his Veto label to summit projects between Chicago and Swiss artists.

The Jackson-Erb-Reid Trio is largely an outgrowth of a two cello/two bass clarinet group that recently issued a recording called Duope. Curiously the fourth ensemble member on the album is Holm.

Both concerts will be held at the Mecca dance studio at 948 Manchester St. Both have a start time of 8 p.m. Both come with a suggested donation admission of $5 (still a ridiculous bargain). Both are not to be missed.

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