Mats Gustafsson & Paul Lovens

On last year’s superb Xylophonen Virtuosen (Incus), a collection of improvised duets with guitarist Jim O’Rourke, Swedish reedist Mats Gustafsson counters his partner’s fractured acoustic fingerpicking with garrulous huffs, growls, and pops. This doesn’t sound too promising in theory, but it’s hard to argue with in practice: the contrasting approaches end up meshing beautifully, producing one surprise after another. Gustafsson always seems to know what’ll work–when to blow fluid, articulate lines, like his searing contributions to Barry Guy’s excellent new orchestral album, Inscape-Tableaux (Intakt), and when to draw on his dazzling command of color and texture. His expert manipulations could lapse into a dull exposition of extended technique in lesser hands, but Gustafsson makes them integral to their context, interlocking his pitch-shifting pops with O’Rourke’s damped string taps or cradling the guitarist’s knotted chords with a sibilant whistle. Here he’ll perform with German percussionist Paul Lovens, who last played here a few months ago with trumpeter Rajesh Mehta. Wednesday, June 13, 7 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.


Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael Jackson.