Monday, June 23, 2008

Mats Gustafsson's The Thing tonight!

The show is sold out, I'm told, so there's not much that my posting this can accomplish, but here's an excerpt from my Mats Gustafsson interview (the full text of which will appear in issue #5 of Bixobal). People missing tonight's gig can also catch Mats Tuesday with the Barry Guy New Orchestra, and... I think there's another opportunity to see him on Wednesday, too.

Anyhow, we'd been talking about his discovery of the music of Don Cherry - The Thing are named after a Don Cherry compositions - which is why he says "also pretty early" at the start...

Allan: Let me ask you the same thing about Albert Ayler. What was the point of entry into his music for you?

Mats: Also pretty early. Together with this friend Edvard, who was here now - we grew up in Umea in the north, on the border to Lapland, and we were, like, figuring out all the shit with music and art and blah-blah-blah, basically through records, because there was not much music coming up there, you know? So we pretty early went from punk rock into free jazz, because we thought it was the same thing, it just sounded a little different. Brotzmann changed everything for us, that twisted the mind around completely. Pretty fast we found Coltrane and Ayler and Shepp - at the same time, basically. I think we were fifteen, basically, the first time hearing an Ayler record.

Allan: Were you playing an instrument at that point?

Mats: Yeah yeah, I played flute since I was seven. I had just started to play the tenor, actually, after hearing a Sonny Rollins concert, when I was fourteen and a half or maybe even fifteen. I could borrow, actually - we have a really good system, still, of music teaching for kids in Sweden. It’s run by the different cities. It used to be free, if you want to learn an instrument. Now it’s changed a little bit, because of political reasons, but it’s still really cheap. My daughter was learning the bass and for a whole year of lessons I paid, like, thirty bucks or something. It’s a really, really good system, and you can borrow an instrument for free. So I just went down to the music school and borrowed a tenor sax and started to play, without knowing anything. So that’s the point where I started to play the tenor, and that’s about the same point that we started to figure out all the shit with Brotzmann and Ayler and all that stuff...

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