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The Thing: Boot!

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Somebody should inform the members of the Scandinavian free jazz trio The Thing they are not rock stars. I repeat, somebody tell saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, you are not lizard kings. The release of Boot!, their sixth studio album since forming in 1999, is a follow-up to the widely celebrated session The Cherry Thing (Smalltown Supersound, 2012) with Neneh Cherry. The band has also collaborated with the likes of Thurston Moore, Joe McPhee, Cato Salsa Experience, Otomo Yoshihide, Ken Vandermark, and Jim O'Rourke. Their garage band genesis was a tribute to ...


The Thing with Barry Guy: Metal!

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The Thing with Barry GuyMetal!No Business Records2012In science, a substance which causes an increase in the rate of a chemical reaction is called a catalyst. In musical combinations, the inclusion (or sometimes even subtraction) of one player can have a similar result, often completely altering the regular dynamic. So it proves on Metal! where Scandinavian power trio The Thing are transformed by the addition of English bass maestro Barry Guy. However the foursome's interplay, captured in sparkling sound from a live date in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, smacks of alchemy transcending any ...


Neneh Cherry & The Thing: The Cherry Thing

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The Scandinavian power trio of saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love named their band The Thing in 2000, after the Don Cherry composition from Where's Brooklyn (Blue Note, 1966). In their subsequent dozen or so albums, they have covered Cherry's music and that of Albert Ayler, Joe McPhee, and Duke Ellington. The Thing has also ventured outside the jazz idiom to perform music by The White Stripes, Yeah Yeah Yeah, PJ Harvey, and Cato Salsa Experience. Think Sahib Shihab meets Black Flag.Theirs is not crossover music as much as it is street-barricading sounds.


The Thing, London, October 4, 2011

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The ThingCafe Oto,London, UKOctober 4, 2011 Back in London for the second time in under a year, The Thing held court in north London to a Cafe Oto rammed with a gratifyingly young crowd. When the Scandinavian trio, comprising the Norwegian rhythm pairing of drummer Paal Nilssen-Love and bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, in consort with Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, started out back in 2000, their book contained mainly tunes by trumpeter Don Cherry (hence the band's name taken from a cut on Cherry's Where Is Brooklyn (Blue Note, 1966)). Since then, however, they have built ...


The Thing: Bag It!

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One of the most appealing facets of The Thing-- saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, bassist Ingebrigt Haker Flaten and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love--is the visceral experience of seeing them play live. Huddled closely on stage, wearing matching Ruby's BBQ of Austin t-shirts, dripping with sweat and manhandling their instruments, the trio is one of the modern wonders of avant-garde jazz. The band, with Gustafsson solely on tenor instead of the expected baritone, headlined a bill at Brooklyn's Zebulon last month with local monstrosities Sparks and Little Women, the second gig of a 15-show North American tour in support of Bag ...


Cato Salsa Experience & The Thing With Joe McPhee: Two Bands And A Legend

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Two Bands And A Legend Cato Salsa Experience & The Thing With Joe McPhee Smalltown Superjazz 2007

“Are you cramped? Can you find your mind? Can you shake your ass?" asks Sonic Youth's guitarist Thurston Moore in his liner notes to Two Bands And A Legend. The album is the second collaboration (after Sound Like A Sandwich, Smalltown Superjazz, 2005) between Norwegian/Swedish power jazz trio The Thing, Norwegian psychedelic quartet Cato Salsa Experience (CSE) and American multi-instrumentalist and free jazz legend Joe McPhee.

Metallic guitar chords and pounding drums pierce ...


The Thing: Action Jazz

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The Scandinavian trio known as The Thing--Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson and two Norwegians, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love--seems to be rewriting the definition of its brand of brutal jazz. After being compared to Peter Brötzmann's early trios, being called a power jazz trio, and being compared to garage rock, The Thing has settled on the term Action Jazz to describe this delicious hell of a noise.

Action Jazz, recorded in Stockholm in December 2005, is the fourth release by The Thing for the Smalltown Superjazz in the last two years. As on all previous releases, the repertoire ...


The Thing: Live at Bl / Mats Gustafsson: Catapult

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Last summer, this reviewer was first exposed to the Scandinavian group The Thing in the best possible way; he was run over by them. The trio, Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love (both Norwegian), played a brutal set at the Oslo club Blå as part of that city's Jazz Festival. Blå, Oslo's answer to Tonic, is The Thing's homebase and a new record documents a performance from there in June 2003.

The Thing Live at Blå Smalltown Superjazz 2005

The Thing's impact on modern improvised music can be ...


Cato Salsa Experience and The Thing with Joe McPhee: Sounds Like A Sandwich

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Sometimes you can't help bursting out laughing while listening to a record. Sounds like a Sandwich, a twenty-minute EP with a most appropriate title, is one of those releases. It features a Norwegian psychedelic rock band, Cato Salsa Experience, together with a jazz power trio, The Thing, and reed man Joe McPhee--or as they call themselves, two bands and a legend. The idea of Joe McPhee blowing Led Zeppelin's “Whole Lotta Love" may sound outrageous at the beginning, but after the initial laughs you'll find yourself pushing the replay button again and again.

The Thing (saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, ...


The Thing: Garage

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This is a disc you know you are going to love from the first sound of the pounding, kick-ass drums.

Garage is the third release by The Thing (a trio named after Don Cherry's seminal piece “The Thing"), following two hard-to-find releases on Swedish reed master Mats Gustafsson's now defunct Crazy Wisdom label ( The Thing , 2000 and with Joe McPhee, She Knows... , 2001). It consists of high-energy, slightly extended covers of left-of-center art/punk songs and free jazz gems. The Thing is Gustafsson, here on baritone and tenor saxophones, with one of the best rhythm sections active today--Norwegians ...


Sonore; Ken Vandermark; The Thing

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Sonore No One Ever Works Alone Okka Disk 2004

When the saxophone trio Sonore played Tonic last month, the moods evoked included a honky-tonk blues bar, a foggy Holmes-ian London complete with murdered prostitute and a pit filled with the screaming damned souls of hell. Their album, removed as it is from the live performance and hyperbolic description, is less visceral, more cerebral but still a successful entry into the trepiditous realm of the all-saxophone group. Texturally, multi-instrumentalists help the cause-- No One Ever Works Alone has 24 ...


Mats Gustafsson/The Thing: She Knows...

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The adventuresome listener has surely picked up on Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson. His work with the band Gush (Sten Sandell and Raymond Strid) is pure collaborative improvisation while his AALY Trio (with frequent contributor Ken Vandermark) is all about pure power jazz. Gustafsson’s total command of the saxophone allows him to stand toe-to-toe with the likes of Peter Brotzmann (check out the Brotzmann Octet/Tentet recordings on Okka Disc) or perform intimate duos with bassist Barry Guy on the 1997 Maya Records Froggin.

His latest work is with the all-scandinavian trio, The Thing, a band born of the music of Don ...

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