Saturday, June 18, 2016, 8 pm
15 Colbourne St., Hamilton
$15 advance purchase
MATS GUSTAFSSON tenor & baritone saxophone
INGEBRIGT HÅKER FLATEN double & electric bass
PAAL NILSSEN-LOVE drums
Mixing jazz with noise, avant-rock and punk, the music of The Thing has been described as ‘garage-free jazz’ and ‘improv-punk’. The band was established in 1999 when the three musicians met to play their interpretation of Don Cherry tunes. Since then The Thing has grown into one of the most successful and hardest working free jazz trio’s around, traveling all over the world. They have performed with guests like Joe McPhee, Ken Vandermark, Otomo Yoshihide, Jim O’Rourke, Thurston Moore, Peter Evans and Neneh Cherry. One of the most appealing facets of The Thing is the visceral experience of seeing them play live. Huddled closely on stage, wearing matching Ruby’s BBQ of Austin t-shirts, dripping with sweat and manhandling their instruments, the trio is one of the modern wonders of avant-garde jazz. Andrey Henkin, AAJ
For over fifteen years the “gnarly, impolite improvising trio” The Thing have been reminding audiences around the world of the sheer transformative power of free jazz. This Norwegian/Swedish jazz trio–Mats Gustafsson (saxophones), Ingebrigt Håker Flaten(double & electric bass), and Paal Nilssen-Love (drums)—have recorded with such musicians as Joe McPhee and Neneh Cherry, and over and over again in Canada they’ve wowed audiences at venues such as Toronto’s Tranzac and The Rex. The Guardian have called The Thing a “seething radioactive beast” and The Wire has tagged their free rhythm style “more akin to garage rock than free jazz.” Hamilton’s alternative arts scene has never seen anything quite like The Thing—their two Saturday night concerts will give us a night to remember!
Boot review in The Wire – November 2013
The Thing, fresh from a collaboration with singer Neneh Cherry, have returned to their stripped-down, raucous core sound on Boot!, Recorded in three day, the six track album opens with a version of John Coltrane’s “India” that’s primitive in the best possible way: the original’s hypnotic, mantra-like saxophone line becomes, through Mats Gustafsson’s efforts, a blustery cross between a military fanfare and the cry of some enraged ape. Behind him, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love batter their instruments in a manner more akin to garage rock than free jazz. This is The Thing’s modus operandi, unchanged since their emergence in the 1990s. The performance is always intense, leaving only the material up to question. In this case, they tackle Duke Ellington’s “Heaven” in addition to the Coltrane piece and four originals, and it’s one earthquake/windstorm after another for an hour, possibly the group’s best release since 2009’s Bag It!.
SCOTT THOMSON trombone
JACK VORVIS drums
This year’s Something Else! Listening Artist in Residence, Scott Thomson is a virtuoso trombonist, the founder of the important Toronto performance space Somewhere There, and a composer who in recent years has been increasingly commissioned to create “cartographic compositions” in which he uses space and movement to mount large-ensemble site-specific works. Percussionist Jack Vorvis, on the other hand, is something of an underground legend. He’s played with CCMC, cut a duo album with Michael Snow, and has a recurring duo with multi-reed player Jeremy Strachan, but this rare appearance with Scott Thomson is a noteworthy event. The Toronto blog Mechanical Forest Sound calls their duo music “ridiculously tasty stuff … hopefully we’ll be hearing some more from this pairing.”