Live at Fasching

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The Swedish trio Gush, consisting of reed maniac Mats Gustafsson, pianist Sten Sandell, and percussionist Raymond Strid, is an interesting and unusual improvising trio. Gustafsson wields prodigious and imaginative technique in a near overwhelming manner and Strid's work has a pleasant clattering quality that recalls Paul Lovens, but it's Sandell that's something of a wild card. While perfectly capable of performing in an abstract manner, he is more likely to play surprisingly, in this context, "inside." Sometimes this takes the form of chords that seem indebted to Abdullah Ibrahim, while on other occasions a brooding romanticism insinuates itself between the roaring and banging. Sandell thus provides a relatively unusual kind of glue for this kind of free improv performance. Still, a newcomer to this disc would surely come away most impressed with the sheer force and variety of sonic assaults that Gustafsson creates. At this point in his career, he was becoming a complete group player, obviously listening to his companions and no longer luxuriating in his own sound; the short closer is a model of concise, heady free improv. A good album, worth hearing.

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