The third release of the Swedish concert organization and newly founded label FRIM is also the first one to combine two radically different duos, of two generations and with two distinct approaches. Percussionist Raymond Strid, a founding member of FRIM in 1976, and guitarist Mattias Windemo represent an older generation with decades of experience. Pianist Karin Ingves and alto sax player Marcus Wärnheim reflect a new wave of Swedish improvisers. Their performances were recorded at Fylkingen in Stockholm in May 2021. The prolific Strid, known from the trio Gush – with Mats Gustafsson and Sten Sandell, as well as his collaborations with Barry guy, Evan Parker and many more, opened his Bandcamp page in February and already uploaded ten live recordings, all stress his unique and independent musical philosophy.
Windemo and Strid are playing together since 2005 and focusing on completely acoustic, free improvisations, but so far recorded only one album, The Mattön Sessions No.4 (Mowinde, 2018). This experienced duo is focused on exploring dynamics informed by the stubborn and energetic frictions, sonic surprises and off-balance detours, with a wicked sense of humor. Windemo and Strid employ inventive extended techniques in order to expand their own vocabularies and their respective sonic palettes, Windemo with his suggestive overtones and Strid with an arsenal of unconventional objects. Their four abstract and nuanced pieces relate to a mysterious and flourishing garden of sounds with vivid titles like «Bugs want some peace and quiet in the garden».
Amsterdam-based Wärnheim and Copenhagen-based Ingves (who plays in Alex Zethson Ensemble) have been active as a workshop duo since 2019, exploring musical boundaries through concepts, ideas and free improvisation. The duo’s 22-minute improvisation «Jag ser ovädret» (I see the storm) is actually meditative, introspective and often quite melancholic, focused on a patient, natural but intricate interplay and suggests a series of fleeting melodies and highlights the deep rapport of these young improvisers.
The solo recordings of Strid were made for a short film by John Chantler with Strid talking about the Swedish reeds and flute player Roland Keijser, who passed away in 2019, and his importance to him. Strid recorded a few albums with Keijser, including their duo Yellow Bell (Umlaut, 2011). The nine short improvisations were recorded at Norlings Rör in August 2021, and all stress the inventive and intuitive way that Strid constructs highly nuanced seductive and poetic percussive textures, harnessing every available object to sing his sonic vision.
Strid has been playing with Sandell in the trio Gush and other outfits (including in early incarnations of Gustafsson’s Fire! Orchestra) since the late eighties and their performance at Fylkingen in May 2018 highlights their profound interplay. The music flows organically as if Sandell and Strid are one inseparable sonic entity. The two improvisations have the timeless quality of spontaneous but thoughtful compositions with clear, slow-cooking but powerful narratives, and offer, obviously, remarkable deep listening and countless poetic and imaginative ideas.
The quartet with British pianist Pat Thomas and Norwegian tenor sax player Håkon Kornstad and double bass player Ingebrigt Håker Flaten touted Norway and Sweden in 2004 and its repertoire was a tribute to Paul Bley’s seminal album Turning Point (Improvising Artist Inc., 1975), collecting recordings from 1964 and 1968, with tenor sax player John Gilmore (from the Sun Ra Arkestra), double bass player Gary Peacock and drummers Paul Motian and Billy Elgart, presenting compositions of Annette Peacock («Kid dynamite»), Carla Bley («Calls»; «King Korn» and «Ida Lupino») and Paul Bley («Turning»), and other seminal outfits from that era like the Svein Finnerud Trio. This album was recorded at Oslo’s Blå club in January 2004. This ad-hoc quartet follows the clever, often subversive and cathartic free jazz spirit of the original compositions, and sounds like a mature, working band. It also offers a rare opportunity to hear Kornstad in his most ‘out’ playing, before he shifted into operatic singing. The two versions of «Ida Lupino» and «King Korn» are simply magical.
Mattias Windemo (guitar), Raymond Strid (cymbals, dr, perc), Marcus Wärnheim (as), Karin Ingves (p), Sten Sandell (p), Håkon Kornstad (ts), Pat Thomas (p), Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (b)