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Concert: Paal Nilssen-Love's Large Unit

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Saturday June 16, ~ 3:45pm (part of the Seventh Stanine Festival)   
$15 suggested donation

(Note: this concert will take place outdoors at Rhizome)

LARGE UNIT is the 13-piece group led by Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love. Since the band’s incarnation in 2013 it has grown to be Nilssen- Love's main venture. After 2014’s debut album “Erta Ale” (a monumental 4xLP box-set) the band came full force with playing more than 40 gigs in Europe and North America the following year. It was clear that Large Unit was no special project reserved for exclusive festival one-offs, this was a fully functioning band – touring, recording and evolving.

In the years after Large Unit has gone from strength to strength. Like in his other projects Nilssen-Love refuses to get comfortable and has as a bandleader shown a will to push the music of Large Unit into new areas. While the band undoubtedly is coming from a free jazz starting point, Nilssen-Love is clearly no believer in genre purity. On 2016’s album “Ana” he added Brazilian musicians to the mix, showing his long affection for the music of artists like Luiz Gonzaga and Trio Nordestino to Milton Nascimento and Pedro Santos. The following year he took the band into another radical direction, writing the commissioned piece “More Fun Please” for an extended version of the ensemble that counted 27 musicians, many of the extra coming from the field of contemporary music, showing that he appreciates John Cage as well as Globe Unity Orchestra. (Not that such a connection should come as a big surprise since electronics has been part of Large Unit’s sonic palette since the beginning.)

There is also distinction between what parts of the music is improvised and what is composed. Neither is it a 50/50 mix. Often the two are intertwined by carefully constructed systems by Nilssen-Love that brings out both the spontaneity of improvisation and the tightness of a band that knows where it’s going. Add the various changes in line-up, a Large Unit gig is something you don’t want to miss, because the next time you catch it won’t be the same band or music.

Large Unit has in its first five years toured Europe, North America, Brazil, Ethiopia and Japan. Now in June the band will embark on a full tour of the USA, to be followed by summer festival shows at Roskilde (Denmark), Moldejazz (Norway, where they played their first gig) and Alarm (Germany). Later there are plans for Canada, Mexico, and more European gigs.

Rhizome would like to thank the Norwegian Embassy for their help and generous support in making this concert possible.


Paal Nilssen-Love would also like to thank these additional funders for their support of the Large Unit's US tour: