281

Mats Gustafsson/David Stackens: Mountain Blues From Sweden

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
: Mountain Blues From Sweden Remember Eva from Jim Jarmusch's first feature film Stranger Than Paradise? She, a thick-accented Eastern European, was fixated on the American bluesman Screamin' Jay Hawkins. Her out of character declarations to "bug off so she can dig the tune "I Put A Spell On You was so unnatural, you knew this film was never planning to retain any sort of balance.

Same can be said for the Swedish duo of saxophonist Mats Gustafsson and guitarist David Stackenäs. Their take on the "blues" is akin to an American ordering spaghetti with peanut sauce.

Ken Vandermark's liner notes essay the musical differences between European and American jazzmen, and the recording demonstrates the same. The divide here is not the "blues." This is not a blues record. Gustafsson and Stackenäs favor instant composition and space. Swing is replaced with swonk (and honk!). Mats Gustafsson does what he does best. The saxophonist sticks with his baritone horn here, as he did on the 2004 disc Catapult. The baritone allows a more intimate reaction to Stackenäs' guitar.

Tones and space replace swing and rhythm. Did I mention this is not a blues record? Stackenäs, an accomplished free jazz guitarist, has digested Derek Bailey and Fred Frith and speaks their tongue with a Swedish accent. He adds tension, vibrations, and daring runs of energy playing. On "Bumble Bee Blues he touches on a bit of slide-guitar blues before rocketing into the deconstructed future. Ah, they are just playing with us! Gustafsson applies his high-end jabs and vocalizations, steering your mind farther and farther from the crossroads.

Okay, so I'm still hung up on the titles here. You need not be, and this is quite an enjoyable set of free improvisation.


Track Listing: Shaveem Wet; Bumble Bee Blues; Built To Do What You Did Last Night; You Have To get Low As a Toad Again; Take Your Hand Off It; Rotten Herring Blues.

Personnel: Mats Gustafsson: baritone saxophone; David Stackens: guitar.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Atavistic Worldwide | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "The Eighth Hour Of Amduat" CD/LP/Track Review The Eighth Hour Of Amduat
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 9, 2017
Read "The Ludwigsburg Concert" CD/LP/Track Review The Ludwigsburg Concert
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 26, 2016
Read "Shoebox View" CD/LP/Track Review Shoebox View
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 4, 2016
Read "Layers" CD/LP/Track Review Layers
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 1, 2016
Read "Functioning Broke" CD/LP/Track Review Functioning Broke
by Doug Collette
Published: July 3, 2016
Read "Strong Tea" CD/LP/Track Review Strong Tea
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 27, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!