The Thing with Mats Gustafsson, Ingebrigt Haaker-Flaten and Paal Nilssen-Love covering 54 Nude Honeys, The Ex, Duke Ellington and Albert Ayler, intense modern improv.
Label: Smalltown Superjazzz
Released in: Norway
"[...] the one problem with The Thing thus far has been that almost none of their albums effectively captured the live experience. 2005's Garage came close and 2006's Action Jazz even closer but not until Bag It! has the band's ferocity been depicted so well in a studio environment. Some of the credit must be given to engineer Steve Albini, of Big Black fame, who highlights the trio's punk aesthetic with spacious recording that does not sacrifice their 'gentler' moments. And Smalltown Superjazzz's stark design-primarily black and white pictures of the band performing at Ruby's-is fittingly bleak.
Besides the Gustafsson-penned title track and the collective "Hot Doug," the rest of the first disc of the double CD set continues the group's penchant for covering songs from outside the jazz canon and doing so with more sincerity than, say, The Bad Plus. But now brutal takes on The Ex ("Hidegen Fujnak A Szelek") and 54 Nude Honeys (a perky "Drop the Gun") are elbowing for attention alongside some fascinating interpretations of music by Swedish sound artist Åke Hodell, Duke Ellington's "Mystery Song" and Albert Ayler's "Angels." This album is also the first Thing release to feature Gustafsson indulging his recent taste for electronics. As a bonus, Bag It! comes with a second disc: a 31-minute improvisation, "Beef Brisket (For Ruby's)," perhaps the first and only free jazz paean to smoked meat.
After almost a decade of playing together, beginning as a Don Cherry cover band, working with guests Joe McPhee, Ken Vandermark, Jim O'Rourke, Thurston Moore, Otomo Yoshihide and even contributing a track to last year's David Bowie tribute album Life Beyond Mars, The Thing have avoided becoming a static entity. See them live if you can, but if not, turn up Bag It! extra loud and make sure to have plenty of wet wipes handy."-Andrey Henkin, All About Jazz
• Show Bio for Mats Gustafsson
"Born 1964 in Umeå, Northern Sweden.Saxplayer, improviser and composer. Solo artist and international tours and projects with a.o. Sonic Youth, Merzbow, Jim O´Rourke, Barry Guy, Otomo Yoshihide, Yoshimi, Ken Vandermark and in working groups The Thing, FIRE!, Gush, Boots Brown, Swedish Azz and Fake (the facts). Large ensemble work with Barry Guy New Orchestra,FIRE! Orchestra and the NU - ensemble.over 1800 concerts and over 200 record productions in Europe, Australia, Africa, North & South America and Asia.Collaborations with contemporary dance, theater, art, poetry as well as projects with noise, electronica, contemporary rock and free jazz.Discaholic - running the discaholic corner website.Producer of international festivals and concert tours as well as work with own record labels Slottet, OlofBright Editions and Blue Tower Records."-Mats Gustafsson Website (http://matsgus.com/archives/category/bio)
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• Show Bio for Paal Nilssen-Love
"Paal Nilssen-Love was born in Molde, Norway, Dec 24. 1974, and raised at a jazz club in Stavanger, run by his parents. It was natural to choose his fathers drums as his instrument and jazz as his work. From 1990 on he took actively part in the jazz milieu in Stavanger and joined bands with established musicians such as trumpeter Didrik Ingvaldsen and saxophonist Frode Gjerstad. In many ways, these collaborations were essential as they pointed out the directions for Paal's later musical development and career. During his studies at the Jazz dept at the University in Trondheim, where the first self initiated bands were established, things developed really fast - and Paal was nationally acknowledged at the age of 20.
The forming of the quartet Element in 1993 in many ways represented the start of a new phase in Paal's musical life. Element musically became a platform for several other groups with bassist Flaten and pianist Wiik, and lead to collaborations with Iain Ballamy and Chris Potter, amongst others. Paal moved to Oslo in 1996, where he joined and/or took part in the forming of bands like Vindaloo, SAN, Håkon Kornstad Tio, The Quintet and Frode Gjerstad Trio. He later on got more into self initiated projects and collaborations with Swedish musicians, such as pianist Sten Sandell and saxophonist Mats Gustafsson.
Paal played his first solo concert in 1999, and since then the solo concept has been an important part of his work: "Everyone should try doing some solo work, just to feel who you really are and what gets you going". His solo album "Sticks and stones" was put out in 2001 on SOFA Rec.
Being active in several bands at the same time has always been Paal's deliberate working method. He is constantly conscious about the projects he is in, as his participation in each and one of them is fully dedicated. Playing is not about getting from start to goal, but rather being in an everlasting process, a continuous movement where each new piece of music performed is a prolongation of the latest. Hence, keeping focused and concentrating all energy around what's happening there and then is of greatest importance - as is the freedom in the music, the ability of being free within the expression.
All bands, although various styles and musical versatility in general, represent important pieces that make up a total, and all bands are formed or joined with a clear vision. Today Paal's portfolio includes Atomic, School Days, The Thing, Frode Gjerstad Trio, Sten Sandell Trio, Scorch Trio, Territory Band, FME, and various duo projects such as with reedmen Ken Vandermark, John Butcher, Mats Gustafsson, organist Nils Henrik Asheim and noise wizard Lasse Marhaug. And not to forget the recently joined Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet."-Paal Nilssen-Love Website (http://www.paalnilssen-love.com/biography.php)
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Shipping Weight: 6.00 units
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Label: Smalltown Superjazzz
Catalog ID: stsj155
Squidco Product Code: 11684
Format: 2 CDs
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded January 17-18, 2008 at Electrical Audio Studios, Chicago.
Mats Gustafsson-alto sax, baritone sax, slide sax, live electronics
Ingebrigt Haaker-Flaten-bass, live electronics
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1. Hidgen Fujnaka A Szelek 5:04
2. Drop The Gun 6:09
3. Bag It! 9:41
4. Snusvisan 4:55
5. Hot Doug 8:47
6. Mystery Song 4:58
7. Angels 7:04
1. Beef Brisket (For Ruby's) 30:42