|Fire! Matts Gustafsson, Johan Berthling, and Andreas Werlin|
This was a trio version of the group. Mats Gustafsson played alto, tenor and baritone saxophones along with electronics, with Johan Berthling on bass and, Andreas Werlin on drums. The performance began with the rhythm section playing a vamp with Gustafsson playing electronics over the top. A ritual cleansing by noise. Gustafsson quickly moved to his baritone, amplifying the intensity. He moved massive columns of air to create a powerful sound that transported all of us in the audience into heavy metal territory. This was followed by Gustafsson playing a bit of tenor and alto, all to impressive effect. My only small wish would be for him to have played a bit more of these horns. I really enjoyed Gustafsson’s playing. In between songs he mocked how complex the tunes were, but actually their simple direct approach was perfect for “Fire Music.” Berthling laid down some deep electric bass, reminiscent sometimes of Bill Laswell, to manufacture a dense aura of sound which seemed to surround the group. Drummer Werlin created a solid rock foundation with some interesting percussion fills. Ending with the piece “Garage,” this was indeed some fine Scandinavian Jazz.
The Flamboyán Theater of Clemente Soto Velez is a great venue for shows like this, with seating on the side and a large middle-section of hardwood cover flooring where people could stand. The sound was good, and there are no obvious obstacles to vision lines. Presenter Blank Forms attracted a diverse and enthusiastic group of people of all ages.