Port Huron Picnic

Mats Gustafsson

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Port Huron Picnic Review

by Steve Loewy

Gustafsson has produced so many high quality releases that the dilemmas for the critical listener are merely where to start and what to buy. Here he is featured in the trio format with two highly compatible musicians, Kurt Newman on electric guitar and Mike Gennaro on percussion. As with most releases by the saxophonist, the results are esoteric, unique, and even enthralling, though at times an entire CD can be a big bite at one sitting. Little sounds -- pops, squeaks, yelps, and grunts, all translated by creative instrumentalists -- predominate, yet there is a coherency to the whole that encapsulates all eight tracks. As with his other releases, there is no melody or even hints at any melodic line, yet there is logic to Gustafsson's blowing that defies rational analysis. In the end, he must be judged by his originality and his ability to evoke emotions, both of which he accomplishes successfully if sparingly. Newman is one of the few guitarists clearly influenced by Derek Bailey, while Gennaro's unusual flitting style on drums separates him from the mainstream.

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