Mats Gustafsson

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By 1994, bassist Barry Guy was a kind of father figure to the burgeoning numbers of younger musicians exploring free improvisation. His membership in the seminal Iskra 1903 group, his own extraordinary London Jazz Composers Orchestra, and simply his amazing facility and creativity on the bass had made him one of the most respected figures on the scene. All the more to his credit was his insistence on performing and recording with younger musicians, often providing a platform from which their own careers mushroomed. This trio is one such venture. As usual, Guy is consistently inventive, prodding, and exploratory, and finds an excellent partner in Strid, whose cadences often have the natural rhythm of an upended cupboardful of kitchenware. Gustafsson is the wild card here. At this point in his development he was still at the point where his incredibly prolix technique would sometimes get in the way of group interaction. But one can sense that he was beginning to rein himself in and to listen more carefully and, when that occurs, this trio breathes as one and some stunning music emerges. On cuts like the closing "The Importance of Oxidation," the sounds flower into a spellbinding and thrilling whole and cause one to hunger for more. Recommended.

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