Jazz Articles | Future

Mats Gustafsson

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If Mats Gustafsson's approach to music were to be described with a single adjective, it would have to be “intense." This applies to him both as a musician, as illustrated by over three decades of playing with stalwarts of the free and creative jazz scenes on both sides of the Ocean (Ken Vandermark, Peter Brötzmann, Joe McPhee, Derek Bailey etc.), and as a voracious crate-digger and record-trader with a two and a half ton vinyl cave in rural Austria. We ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mats Gustafsson/ Alfred Vogel: Blow + Beat

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Swedish saxophone powerhouse Mats Gustafsson was playing with his trio--The Thing--at the 2016 Beazau Beatz Festival when he hooked up with the excellent, but under-recognized, Austrian drummer Alfred Vogel, who hosts the outing. The resulting Blow + Beat is an extraordinarily challenging musical experiment from two fearless advocates of free thought. The saxophone/drum duo is an improvisational gauntlet, not meant for the faint of heart but still welcoming of curious listeners.Gustafsson has been a member of no less ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mats Gustafsson & Craig Taborn: Ljubljana

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Congratulations to whomever conceived of this pairing of two improvised music giants. Pianist Craig Taborn and saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, both born in the great white north (so to speak), Taborn in Minneapolis and Gustafsson, Umeå, in Northern Sweden. Both are original and distinctive improvisers whose paths had never crossed until the 2015 Ljubljana Jazz Festival. Taborn, of late, has been christened heir to the improvised piano chair of Keith Jarrett by ECM records chief Manfred Eicher. This is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mats Gustafsson: MG50 Peace & Fire

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Mats Gustafsson at fifty. Name another artist who has had this significant and widespread effect on jazz, noise, free improvisation, alternative rock, electronica, and free jazz. Besides John Zorn, that pool is quite shallow. Gustafsson's music seems to attract innovative players into imaginative situations. If you are a fan, this 50th birthday celebration recorded in October, 2014 at Porgy and Bess, Vienna is your personal slice of cake. If you know nothing about Gustafsson's music, this is a great introduction ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mats Gustafsson: Piano Mating

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Sure, saxophonist Mats Gustafsson is a rock star. A star in the same sense that Thurston Moore is a jazz artist or Merzbow generates ambient sounds. It's not so much that we would expect to see those three gentlemen receiving a Grammy Award, but that imitators of their styles will. Someday. In other words, innovators pioneer sounds, take Charlie Parker of instance, that others capitalizes on. If you follow Gustafsson's career, you must always expect the unexpected. Early ...

BEST OF / YEAR END

John Sharpe's Best Releases of 2015

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Here in no special order are ten new releases, reviewed in All About Jazz, which stood out among those I heard this year. Mats Gustafsson Hidros 6 Knockin' (Not Two Records) An avant-garde jazz composition based on the songs of '50s rocker Little Richard. Really? Yep, that's the premise behind Swedish reedman Mats Gustafsson's large scale work recorded at the Krakow Jazz Autumn in 2013. A significant part of the achievement is down ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mats Gustafsson & Nu Ensemble: Hidros 6: Knockin'

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An avant-garde jazz composition based on the songs of '50s rocker Little Richard. Really? Yep, that's the premise behind Swedish reedman Mats Gustafsson's large scale work recorded at the Krakow Jazz Autumn in 2013. Although best known for his small group output with The Thing and Fire!, Gustafsson has regularly assembled bigger groupings during his career, most recently his Fire! Orchestra. Through a festival commission, Gustafsson was granted the opportunity to convene the 12-strong all star Nu Ensemble which rehearsed ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Merzbow/Mats Gustafsson/Balázs Pándi: Live In Tabačka 13/04/12

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Let's bring back the maxim; “If it's too loud--you're too old." Certainly, when you listen to noise-music (is that an oxymoron? Absolutely not.) loudness is to a composition, what rhythm is to George Gershwin. That said, Live In Tabačka 13/04/12 is fascinating noise. This recording, released as a limited (400 copies) LP and digital download was recorded the night before the trio of Japanoise god Masami Akita aka Merzbow, Swedish free jazz saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, and Hungarian drummer ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Merzbow/Mats Gustafsson/Balázs Pándi/Thurston Moore: Cuts of Guilt, Cuts Deeper

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The Cuts Quartet is a sort of assembled supergroup. But we are not talking Traveling Wilburys or Audioslave here. Groups where the sum is certainly less than the parts. No, the amalgam of Japanese noise artist Merzbow (aka Masami Akita), Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson (Fire! Orchestra, The Thing), American guitarist Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), and Hungarian drummer Balázs Pándi (Metallic Taste of Blood) comes at the ears more like John Coltrane's Ascension (Impulse!, 1965) or Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz (Atlantic, ...


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