If I were asked to make a TOP TEN RELEASES OF 1999 list, this recording would be on it without a second thought.
Mats Gustafsson is one of the most creative saxophonists playing today. This is a solo saxophone cd. Maybe that sounds like a turn-off to some of you but cast that thought aside. You can have your Michael Brecker's and your Branford Marsalis' (whom I also enjoy... Branford, that is) but those guys do not hold a candle to the level of pure creativity, musical imagination, and improvisational prowess that Mats has. And make no mistake, this is not music that 99% of people will consider "jazz"... this is free-improvisation.
I forget now, I'd have to go read the liner notes again, but this cd was recorded in an old cathedral or somewhere and the sonic ambience (room tone) creates a gorgeous aura around every alien note that Mats plays. Although I noticed that Amazon only has two or three cds by Mats he has alot more releases, and many of them are great (especially when he plays with bassist Barry Guy), and this is one of his best.
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Swedish horn blower Mats Gustafsson's forte is his unique ability to accommodate large, bellowing horn gusts and devilishly intricate microhorn chatter within the space of a single phrase. This technique, which allows a tsunami of sound to be answered by a volley of rapid-fire chirps, squeaks, and clucks, gives this solo LP the illusion of dialogue--as if there were two mad horn players in the room rather than one. And in Gustafsson's hands, the give and take of his internal conversation is both convincing and intriguing.The Education of Lars Jerry, however, is not simply a showcase for Gustafsson's use, abuse, and misuse of wind instruments. He is capable of sketching a wildly diverse landscape of mood and emotion--from scalding, angry blasts to jolting surprises to hilarious slapstick. With all these tools at his disposal, Gustafsson's stories are as interesting as the language he uses to describe them.--S. Duda