Saxophonist Mats Gustafsson was born in 1964 in Umeå, a town in the north of Sweden with a rich cultural life and an inspiring jazz scene. From an early age Gustafsson was able to hear leading improvisers such as saxophonist Lars Göran Ulander, pianist Per Henrik Wallin and the group Lokomotiv Konkret with saxophonist Dror Feiler.

Gustafsson first tried his hand at free improvisation together with percussionist Kjell Nordeson (who later formed part of the Aaly Trio). In the mid-80s, Gustafsson moved to Stockholm and there he met pianist Sten Sandell and percussionist Raymond Strid, an encounter which had a crucial effect on Gustafsson's artistic development. Together the three musicians make up the group Gush, whose characteristic features are dynamic variation, tightness and precision. At about this time the duo Two Slices of Acoustic Car also came into being with guitarist Christian Munthe, whose abrupt, aphoristic style of playing still continues to astonish.

The opportunity to play with more experienced improvisers had a significant influence on the breadth and direction of Mats Gustafsson's music, and together with Kjell Noredson and Per Henrik Wallin he recorded "Dolphins Dolphins Dolphins" in 1991 (Dragon DRCD 215). Berlin-based percussionist, accordionist and poet Sven-Åke Johansson provided an important introduction to the German scene, which has since become one of Mats Gustafsson's musical bases (Gush & Sven-Åke Johansson: "Tjo och Tjim", Dragon DRLP 192, 1989).

In Stockholm young jazz musicians began to meet at The Blue Tower (Blå Tornet, a shop for second-hand books and records which has now changed its name to Andra böcker och Skivor), whose Friday sessions, known as "Improvised Fridays", soon became a musical meeting-place of international standard. Many critics consider that Mats Gustafsson's and Paul Loven's "Nothing to read" (Blue Tower Records BTCD 03), which was recorded during a number of Improvised Fridays during 1990 and 1991, is one of the finest records of free improvised jazz in existence! This encounter with percussionist Paul Loven had a significant effect on Mats Gustafsson's artistic development. Since then he has widened his musical horizons to include Germany, England, Holland and America. He has also developed a close collaboration with an increasing number of top rank musicians, including bassist Barry Guy, violinist Philipp Wachsmann, bassist Günter Christmann, percussionist Michael Zerang, and more recently saxophonist Peter Brötzmann.

More info about MATS GUSTAFSSON

link to Michael Zerang's website