long bio

Mar.28, 2009



Sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass and contrabass saxophones
Weevil Sax
Amplified saxophone & live-electronics

Piano Mate



Solo improviser, often in collaboration with contemporary dance, visual art, poetry and theatre

Composer of solo work for saxophone, live electronics and ensemble pieces. Sound Installations.
Commissions by Swedish Concert Institute, Swedish National Radio (P1 & P2), KulturBro 2000, Krakow jazz autumn 2013, Norrlands Operans Symfoniorkester, Now and Forever Space project 2014, Klangforum Wien. Compositions played by Sonic Youth, Nu-ensemblen, Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet, Copenhagen Art Ensemble, The Thing, AALY Trio, The End, Trondheim Improvisers Ensemble, Neneh Cherry, NyMusikk TRondheim, FRIM Storband, Trondheim Voices a.o.

Curator of festivals; Sounds 89 & 99, Solo -92, Dygn (-95), Open Music – KulturBro 2000, 2002,
Wels /unlimited music 2003, Perspectives 2004, Perspectives 2007, Perspectives 2009, Nickelsdorf Konfrontationen 2010…
Curator of Swedish concert Institute’s tour project-series “Frislag” since 2000.

Re-started FRIM in 1998 (the association of free improvised music in Sweden).
Citizen of Elgaland/ Vargaland (KREV)

Started Blue Tower Records with Harald Hult in 1989.
Started Crazy Wisdom with Christian Falk and Conny C. Lindström in 1999.
Started Olof Bright Editions with Thomas Millroth in 2000.
Started SLOTTET with Conny C Lindström and Maria Eriksson in 2006

Extensive touring, over 2000 concerts and over 250 recording projects, with music ensembles and solo projects in Scandinavia, Europe, Australia, Africa, South &  North America and Asia.
Major festivals and clubs/performance theatres/museums in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Lithuania, Lettvia, Russia, Poland, Belarus, Germany, Ukraine, Belgium, Holland, France, England, Scotland, Ireland, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Monaco, Slovenia, Turkey, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, India, China, Japan, Korea, Tasmania, Australia, New Zeeland, USA, Brazil, Canada and Ethiopia






LUFT  – Gustafsson & Erwan Keravec

THE UNDERFLOW w David Grubbs & Rob Mazurek

CUTS w Merzbow & Balazs Pandi´


Two Slices of Acoustic Car
TARFALA – Guy/Gustafsson/Strid
Mats Gustafsson – Thurston Moore duo

Boots Brown
Gustafsson/Lovens Duo

EFG :Gustafsson – Fernandez – Evans

THE EX & Brass Unbound

Vario 34
Grubbs/ Gustafsson
Nash Kontroll
Original Silence, Related Silence, International Silence, Another Silence…
ZU + Mats Gustafsson


resting / deleted projects:

The Thing


Swedish Azz

SONORE: Brötzmann/Vandermark/Gustafsson

BGNO/ Barry Guy New Orchestra

Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet

Diskaholics Anonymous Trio



Jim O´Rourke, Sonic Youth, Paul Lovens, Barry Guy, Peter Brötzmann, Derek Bailey, Günter Christmann, Sven-Åke Johansson, Reine Fiske,  Stephen O `Malley, Philipp Wachsman, Paul Lytton, Sten Sandell, Yamataka Eye, Sebi Tramontana, Roger Turner, Hamid Drake, Ken Vandermark, Zu, Yoshimi, Jaap Blonk, Misha Mengelberg, Lee Ranaldo, David Grubbs, Thurston Moore, David Sandström, The Nomads, Axel Dörner, Wilbert de Joode, Michael Zerang, Evan Parker, Merzbow, Han Bennink, Thomas Lehn, Raymond Strid, Conny Nimmersjö, John Essing, Leif Elggren, Greg Goodman, Kevin Drumm, Joe McPhee, Bob Hund, Dror Feiler, Otomo Yoshihide, Cato Salsa Experience, Tim Barnes, Johannes Bauer, Caspar Brötzmann, FourTet, Steve Reid, Paal Nilsen-Love, Lasse Marhaug, Guy Picciotto, The Sons of God, Ikue Mori, DJ Olive, Sachiko M, Pat Thomas, Agusti Fernandez, Peter Evans, Christer Bothén, Stian Westerhus, Yosuke Yamashita, Ebbot Lundberg, Akira Sakata, Dieb 13, Martin Siewert, Nicolai Dunger, Jari Haapalainen, Goran Kajfes, Jonas Kullhammar, Christoph Kurzmann, DD Kern, Dave Rempis, Tim Daisy, Tomeka Reid, Oren Ambarchi , Getatchew Mekuria, Radian, Jason Adasiewicz, Erwan Keravec, BNNT, Bas Wiegers, Ilan Volkov,  Neneh Cherry…

ART PROJECTS w  Christian Marclay, Albert Oehlen,  Clay Ketter, Hanns Schimanskij, Lars Tunbjörk, Mathias Pöschl, Olle Bonnier, Edward Jarvis, Darren Almond, Håkan Elofsson, Georg Herold, André Butzer, Maja Spasova, Leif Elggren, Sven Åke Johansson, Ann Blom and others


Born in Umeå, Sweden 1964.
Flute studies, keyboard mistreatments and activities in jazz-rock and punk units in Umeå in early 80`s.
Started playing improvised music with drummer Kjell Nordeson in 1982, with whom he started AALY Trio in 1986. Performances/ happenings with visual artist Edward G. Jarvis from 1984-.
Moved to Stockholm in 1985. Early collaborations with Dror Feiler, Jörgen Adolfsson, Christian Munthe and Sten Sandell & Raymond Strid with whom he started GUSH in 1988
Started collaborate with German drummer Paul Lovens in 1990 and has since then worked extensively as duo, trio, quartet and large ensemble (NU-ensemblen).

Early international collaborations with Derek Bailey (1988-), Sven -Åke Johansson (1989-) Per Henrik Wallin (1990-) Günter Christmann (1991-) Jim O ‘Rourke (1990-) a.o.
First trip to the US in 1988. First meetings with Ken Vandermark, Hamid Drake, David Grubbs, Michael Zerang, Fred Lonberg Holm… in Chicago 1994.

Formed The Thing with Norwegians Paal Nilssen-Love and Ingebrigt Håker Flaten in 1999 …
Frequent collaborators to The Thing is Joe McPhee, Ken Vandermark, Thurston Moore, Zu, Otomo Yoshihide, Jim O` Rourke, Peter Brötzmann, Terrie Hassels, Jim Baker, Goran Kajfes, Mats Äleklint, Peter Evans, Neneh Cherry and Norwegian hard-core-combo Cato Salsa Experience

Frequent collaborator of Sonic Youth since 2000, recordings, concerts, festivals.

Frequent collaborator of Klangforum Wien.

FIRE! Orchestra started in 2011 (30 piece group) – 4 different versions: Exit, Enter, Ritual and Arrival. since 2018 a 14  piece group.

NU – ensemblen started 1996 and re started again in 2013

THE END started in 2018 together with Kjetil Møster

ANGUISH started in 2018

THE UNDERFLOW started in 2019



Silence projects with a.o. Guy Picciotto, Ikue Mori, Caspar Brötzmann, DJ Olive, Thurston Moore, Terrie Ex, Jim O’Rourke, Han Bennink, Tim Barnes, Massimo Zu, Paal Nilssen-Love, Dror Feiler, Johan Berthling, Yoshimi… different combinations with musicians and sound artists focusing on creative improvised noise and alternative rock-music.


Theatre projects with OrionTeatern / Dramaten / Lars Rudolfsson, Sven -Åke Johansson…

Dance projects with Susanne Jaresand, Kazau Ohno, Lotta Melin, Vindhäxor, Greta Lindholm…




Received the Swedish Royal Academy of Music Large Prize of Jazz in 2004,

Voted best jazz artist of the year in Sweden  2000 and 2008.

Recieved Expressen´s Spelmannen Prize in 2004.

Guest of Honor at the Umeå Jazz  festival in 2008.

Nordic Council Music Prize 2011


Major features in JazzTimes (USA), The Wire(UK), All About Jazz (USA) , Down Beat (USA), Sonic(DE), Jazznytt (NO), Lira,  Chicago Tribune(USA), Expressen, Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Sonic, Aftonbladet, GP, VK, VF, Dagbladet (NO), Helsingin Saangomaat(FI) … and in Orkester Journalen…

Essential & Selective Discography (complete discography includes over 250 titles)

**Mats Gustafsson/Paul Lovens; Nothing To Read – Blue Tower BTCD03, 1990
**Mats Gustafsson/Barry Guy/Paul Lovens; Mouth eating trees and related activities –
OKKA Disk OD12010,1992
**Mats Gustafsson; Impropositions – Phono Suecia PSCD 99,1997
**Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet; 1,2,3 – OKKA Disk12022, 1997
**GUSH; Live in Tampere – Dragon DRCD 327,1996
**Günter Christmann/Mats Gustafsson; one to (two)-OKKA ODL 10002,1997
**Mats Gustafsson; Hidros One- Caprice CAP 21566,1999
**Mats Gustafsson; Windows: the music of Steve Lacy – Blue Chopsticks BC4, 1999
**Mats Gustafsson/Jim O´Rourke; Xylophonen Virtuosen – Incus CD38, 1999
**Mats Gustafsson/Ingebrigt Håker Flaten/Paal Nilssen-Love; The Thing – Crazy Wisdom 001, 2000
**AALY Trio with Ken Vandermark; I Wonder if I was Screaming – Crazy Wisdom 003, 2000
**Diskaholics anonymous trio – Crazy Wisdom 005, 2000
**Paal Nilssen-Love/ Mats Gustafsson; I love it when you snore – Smalltown STS063CD, 2002
**Mats Gustafsson; Trees and Truths – Olof Bright OBEP 6-8, 2002
**Mats Gustafsson w. SonicYouth and friends; Hidros 3 – Smalltown STS080, 2004
**The Thing; Garage – Smalltown STS078, 2004
**Cato Salsa Experience and The Thing with Joe McPhee; Sounds like a sandwich – Smalltown Superjazzz stsj103cd
**Mats Gustafsson; Slide – Firework FER 1054, 2005
**The Thing; Action Jazz – Smalltown STS, 2006
**SONORE; only the devil has no dreams – jazzwerkstatt 013, 2007
**Brötzmann/Gustafsson/Nilssen-Love; The Fat is Gone – Smalltown STSJ 138, 2007
**Boots Brown – Boots Brown – Slottet, SLM7, 2007
**The Thing & Ken Vandermark; Hide out – Smalltown STSJ105, 2007
**Mats Gustafsson; Its all about – Tyyfus 5 LP, 2007
**Guy / Gustafsson/ Strid; Tarfala – Maya MCD 0801, 2008
**The Thing; Now and Forever 3CD Box + DVD w Thurston Moore – Smalltown STSJ106, 2008
**Sonic Youth med Mats Gustafsson og Merzbow; Andre sider f Sonic Youth – SYR 8, 2008
**Mats Gustafsson; Mats G plays Duke E – Qbico, 2008

**Mats Gustafsson; Mats G plays Albert A – Qbico, 2009

**TR!O – Christmann/ Gustafsson / Lovens – FMP CD 136, 2010

**Mats Gustafsson – NEEDS, Dancing Wayang LP , 2010

**The Thing – BOOT!, The Thing records/ Trost TTR 001, 2013

**FIRE! – without noticing, Rune Grammofon, 2013

**FIRE! Orchestra – EXIT – Rune Grammofon, 2013

** The End  – vemod – Rare Noise recordings , 2018

** THE THING – AGAIN – Trost, 2018

** FIRE! Orchestra – ARRIVAL – Rune Grammofon, 2019

** ANGUISH – ANGUISH – Rare noise recordings, 2019


also represented on; Actions for Free Jazz, Load Records, Doubt Music, hatOLOGY, LEO, BEAD, Wobbly Rail, Xeric, Kontrans, Drag City, X-OR, Radium, LJ, Spool, Random Acoustics, Dilettante, Universal, psi/emanem, Ideal, Table of the Elements, Mego, Bocian………..

for Mats Gustafsson discography and biography check;










Lives in Nickesldorf, Austria and Umeå , Sweden.