Port Huron Picnic
Mats Gustafsson, soprano & baritone sax, flute, flutephone Kurt Newman, electric guitar Mike Gennaro, drums, percussion Recorded May 17, 1999, in Chicago. A flickering evanescent set featuring Swedish reed maestro Mats Gustaffson with the promising young Canadian duo of Gennaro and Newman also known as Wrist Error. The latter give credence to the reality of a new improvisation scene in Toronto. There is an appreciation of space and listening that belies the relative youth of this trio. Despite it being the meeting of a veteran improviser and two newcomers, the music is realized as though the three were already a long standing group. This is music existing in a relatively steady state of density. It is leaning forward music. It's energy level somehow resists translation into volume of textual surliness. ... This isn't a narrative or telling. It's a sequence of events you can narrate if you so desire...David Grubbs, liner notes What the Critics are Saying: For those who favor Derek Bailey, the amplified sound of insects rustling through leaves, and other events sped up or manipulated, there is Mats Gustafsson, Kurt Newman, Mike Gennaro. Their Port Huron Picnic has them grabbing a sound, shaking it around for what it's worth, and moving on to more of the same. P.H.P. makes sound, not music -- this is the nature of their sound explorations. Kurt Newman's guitar, for instance, becomes a percussion instrument and a tonal one only in that it produces harmonics, overtones and the occasional, tempered, scalar utterance. This is well executed with great attention to detail and will appeal to a certain contingent which champions small group, spontaneous sound events...Charles Winokoor, Cadence Newman and Gennaro may not be breaking new ground with each improvisation, but they give facility a good name, and they pose some real challenges to Gustafsson. Deprived for the most part of his power tools in this relatively low volume context, Gustafsson responds well, deftly deploying his baritone saxophone, flute and fluteophone (a flute fitted with a saxophone mouthpiece), particularly in mid-programme, to vary the timbral palette. Restraint is not always Gustafsson's strong suit, but here he is acutely deliberate in his interactions with Newman and Gennaro, who often have the scene well established by the time he makes his entrance...Bill Shoemaker, The Wire Mats Gustafsson has played widely with musicians from free improvised and jazz backgrounds, both in his native Sweden and abroad. Some of these associations include: a duo with Paul Lovens; various combinations with Paul Lytton, in Günter Christmann's Vario groups and festivals; in Georg Gräewe's Quintet; in duo with Barry Guy and in trio with Guy and Raymond Strid; and in various groups with Roger Turner (1998 saw a brief tour in the UK of the trio of Gustafsson, Turner and Pat Thomas). He played in Derek Bailey's Company in 1990 in London. From the early 1990s, Mats Gustafsson was a regular visitor to the US, forming a particular affinity with Chicago musicians such as Hamid Drake, Michael Zerang and Ken Vandermark and recording for the city's Okka Disk label. Toronto improvisors Kurt Newman and Mike Gennaro have played with John Butcher, Mats Gustafsson, Roger Turner, Eugene Chadbourne, Kevin Drumm and Fred Lomberg-Holm among others. They perform as a duo or trio under the name Wrist Error, as well as in ad hoc combinations. In addition to co-organizing a monthly improvised music series, they formed Ulterior Recordings in 1999.