Colin Stetson & Mats Gustafsson - Stones (3 stars)

Live recording from Swedish jazz heavyweight and US saxophonist

Colin Stetson & Mats Gustafsson - Stones

(Rune Gramofon)

In the red corner, Swedish jazz heavyweight Mats Gustafsson, a man who has played with everyone from Sonic Youth to Neneh Cherry. In the blue, Canadian reed mangler to the stars (Tom Waits, David Byrne, Arcade Fire et al), Colin Stetson. You see how tempting it is to reach for the boxing metaphors when faced with such a pairing? Yet Stones, recorded live at the 2011 Vancouver Jazz Festival, is a less bloodily pugilistic affair than such a conceit suggests. Gustafsson reliably deploys the harsh multiphonics and gastrointestinal rumbles for which he is renowned, but he never quite goes full tilt, instead choosing to listen carefully to Stetson’s bull-necked drones and looping birdsong phases, complementing them with tongue slaps, chatter and honk. Stones is no classic, but there’s fun to be had from the weird tones and brief snatches of ragged melodicism which rise from the primordial gloom.

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