By Tim Niland
Mats Gustafsson and Craig Taborn – Ljubljana (Clean Feed Records, 2017) This is an inspired if unexpected meeting of the minds between the pianist Taborn and milti-instrumentalist Gustafsson who opts for slide and baritone saxophone on this album, which was recorded live and unrehearsed at the 2015 Ljubljana, Slovenia Jazz Festival. They develop a two-part collective improvisation that is dynamic and free flowing, beginning with “The Eyes Moving. Slowly” which hits like a truck to begin with massive guttural waves of saxophone met by expansive and powerful keyboard playing. In the lighter moments of the music, Taborn is able to provide delicate showers of notes met by Gustafsson’s percussive popping of his saxophone keys which allow to music to claim a much larger sound field than you might anticipate. The second track, “The Ears Facing the Fantasies. Again” is a more open an expansive improvisation, with the musicians finding common ground that is at times lyrical and light, and then able to probe the darker corners of improvised music.