Mats Gustafsson, R. Crumb, and discaholism

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Ken Vandermark and Mats Gustafsson
Yesterday afternoon Corbett vs. Dempsey hosted a free concert by reedists Ken Vandermark and Mats Gustafsson. Introducing the performers, gallery co-owner John Corbett noted that Sweden's Gustafsson first came to Chicago 19 years ago to perform, and that while he'd been back dozens of times since then, developing deep ties to the city, he'd never actually spent any time here when he wasn't playing music—until his current trip. Still, Corbett convinced him to play one killer set with Vandermark, one of this longest-lived and closest collaborators.

The reedists have worked together in many different projects over the years (Aaly Trio + Ken Vandermark, the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet, Sonore, and many more ad hoc configurations), so I was shocked to hear that yesterday's duet performance was their first ever. I'm very grateful that the music was recorded, because the two players were frighteningly locked in and gave a gut-punching performance. Following the set Corbett joked about Gustafsson being a discaholic before noting that the reedist was hawking some limited edition vinyl releases. Indeed, Gustafsson is a self-diagnosed discaholic, once leading a trio with Jim O'Rourke and Thurston Moore called Diskaholics Anonymous, and these days running a great website called Discaholic Corner.

The site is home to all kinds of geeky list-making, but the best features have been Gustafsson's interviews with fellow record collectors. Two weeks ago he published one of his best yet, with the brilliant cartoonist and notorious 78 RPM collector R. Crumb. Gustafsson told me that he was initially rebuffed by Crumb, who insisted that he only collected shellacs, not vinyl, but the saxophonist's persistence eventually won out. The interview is fantastic and the humor and perceptiveness of Crumb lands hard right out the gate. In his very first answer he discusses his own obsession with typical wit and candor: "Collecting addictions in general have a lot in common with drug addiction. Very bad for the bank account, bad for human relationships. Why is it that you never see an ardent collector as a hero in movies? Collectors are perceived as creeps by most people, craven hoarders, narrowly obsessed little men."


Today's playlist:

Donald Byrd and Barney Wilen, Jazz in Camera (Sonorama)
Ø, Oleva (Sähkö)
Bobby Charles, Bobby Charles (Rhino/Bearsville)
Biondini/Godard/Niggli, What is There What is Not (Intakt)
Sandro Satta, Roberto Bellatalla, and Fabrizio Spera, Re-Union (Rudi)

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