With Boot! the Thing celebrate the launch of their own label, dedicated not only to this and future releases, but also to reissuing their catalog and keeping it in print. This European punk-jazz power trio -- baritone saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love -- have established a reputation for an integrative garage band approach that blurs lines between rock, funk, jazz, free improv, and noise. Boot! contains six tracks: three group originals, one by Håker Flaten, and two re-purposed jazz standards.
Swedish/Norwegian trio the Thing play free jazz that you can stage dive to. Though the group—saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, and bassist Ingebrit Håker Flaten—initially came together in 1999 as a tribute project dedicated to trumpeter/out-music legend Don Cherry, they quickly evolved and found its own identity, performing improvised music that’s informed by the urgency and simplicity of garage rock. If you line up a list of the Thing’s cover selections—songs by the Cramps, the Sonics, and PJ Harvey—against their roster of collaborators—weirdo-luminaries like Jim O’Rourke, Peter Brötzmann, Merzbow—you can get an idea of where their sensibilities lay.
Saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, the Scandinavian trio collectively known as The Thing, create pummeling free jazz full of rock fury and noise destruction that still honors the jazz tradition from which it arose. The visceral results of this interdisciplinary skill (like 2009’s sublime Bag It!) have made them one of the best-regarded jazz outfits in the world. They continue to live up to that reputation with Boot! (their first release on their newly formed The Thing Records), a set that opens with Coltrane-gone-punk and never looks back.
The Thing never, ever messed around. One could make the argument that their music is a perfect reflection of their blunt name. And now that they have their own label, they are messing around even less than before. They made Bag It! with the help of Steve Albini and The Cherry Thing in collaboration with Neneh Cherry (daughter of the late, great Don Cherry).