Torturing the Saxophone

Mats Gustafsson

Torturing the Saxophone


One of the most celebrated folks in improvised music, Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson made three ultra-limited edition vinyl LPs, each featuring a different dedication to a favorite musician from the past. Released in batches of 99, these records found Gustafsson playing compositions by Duke Ellington, Albert (and his brother Donald) Ayler, and the important post-bop baritone player Lars Gullin. Long out-of-print, these priceless slabs of free music have quickly become sought after collector’s items. Torturing the Saxophone compiles all three LPs, plus some extra material, featuring Gustafsson at both his most experimental and his most lyrical. He purrs his way through Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood,” then demolishes “Come Sunday.” He draws out Gullin’s “Danny’s Dream,” rendering it truly dreamlike, perhaps nightmarish. Gustafsson shared the LPs with his new friend R. Crumb, the famous comics artist and shellac enthusiast. Crumb’s stunned response provides liner notes for the CD (“…I was kind of shocked at what a negative, unpleasant experience it was…”) and the perfect title. Only one way to hear what rubbed Crumb so hard the wrong way – listen in to hear what pain and possible injury Mats Gustafsson inflicts upon his horns.


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