Mats Gustafsson

Mats Gustafsson
Vincenzo Roggero By

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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 could not but ask the Swedish self-described discaholic what he's been listening to lately...

1. Hank Mobley, Hank Mobley (Blue Note, 1957)

The ultimate jazz record! Everything is extremely well balanced and imaginative on this supersession. The tenor sax is poetic beauty beyond belief and the trumpet playing of Art Farmer has never been more lyrical and emotionally present. Art Blakey is a swinging genius and that is very clear on this session. The cover image is a photo that has stayed in my mind for years. This is a must have for any jazz fan! An absolute essential killer album! When I finally got hold of a mono copy of the original first pressing, it was one of the happiest days of my life as a discaholic! This is music that I get back to almost every day!

2. Bitch Magnet, Ben Hur (Glitterhouse,1990)

A beautiful classic! Slow and poetic, noisy and hard, but yet a penetrating brutal hymn of an album. Epic! Jazz or not? Who cares? This music is happening for the right reasons. Mindblowing and hard hitting flow of beauty! Layers of riffs and distorsion creates a beautiful instrumental beast!

3. Brussels Art Quintet, Brussels Art Quintet (BAQ, 1968)

A very rare and totally beautiful 7" of early European spiritual free jazz! I have only seen one copy in all the years and I just got this one last week. Babs Robert playing a very expressive and emotionally charged tenor sax on top of a seldom heard Belgian hard hitting and groovy background. 1968 was the year it all happened. Free the jazz! And preferably on 7" format! Great Cobra art related cover by the late Serge Vandercam!

4. Yosuke Yamashita Trio, Montreux Afterglow (Frasco, 1976)

Of all the great Yamashita trio albums ever made... this one stands out! Akira Sakata playing the most frenetic and laser-charged alto sax freakin' ever! This is trio music interaction of the highest level. Extreme energy. Extreme flow. In your face! The Yamashita Trio is one of the most amazing groups ever active on the scene. For people that haven't checked this out—you have a life changing experience in front of you! You dig? The version of Ayler's "Ghost" is beyond scary... Beyond good. This record is spinning on one of my turntables every week... it needs to be there. Intensity from another planet. And beauty!

5. Codeine, Barely Real (Sub Pop, 1992)

Another slab of slow moving energy that I can't resist and don't want to resist. Distorted beauty. An LP given to me by the great Johan Berthling, of Tape-fame. He thought it was missing in my collection. And he was right. I have been playing this record for brekfast for 2 months in a row. Can't get enough of distorted guitars creating layers of wisdom and I will always and forver be into slow riffing in a trio format. One of the true essences in my life. Slow riffing. What can be better?

6. Louis Moholo-Moholo, Spirits Rejoice (Ogun, 1978)

One of my all time favourite records of all time. I kid you not! I always travel with a copy. I need to have access to the musical beauty and poetry of this amazing album. It has everything! Swing, freedom, melodic beauty and ecstasy! Evan Parker is playing like never before, hitting peaks of beauty. Kenny Wheeler has never played more intensely. And the rhythmic roar of Moholo together with two of the most intense bass players on the scene ever: Johnny Dyani and Harry Miller. The arrangements on this album are pure genius... the material is breathtaking and the level of improvising is stunning. This album is unreal. From another planet. Did I mention that I really dig the music? An absolute must have for any fan of creative music, no matter what genre. On my top 10 list of recorded music!

7. Serge Chaloff, Boston Blow up! (Capitol, 1955)


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