Five LPs I’m Going To Steal From Your Collection
Swedish Improvisor Mats Gustafsson Eyes John Corbett’s Record Library
John Corbett first brought me over to Chicago in 1994, connecting me with the vibrant creative music scene. Since then I’ve collaborated extensively with players like Ken Vandermark, Jim O’Rourke, Michael Zerang, and David Grubbs. The live music was the impetus, but give John’s and my lifelong discoholic obsessions, the record collecting mania was amplified over those 14 years. Every time I visit his collection things disappear mysteriously. I swear, I know nothing! Here are five records that seem likely the be misplaced sometime soon.
Mario Schiano Trio
If Not Ecstatic We Refund
The coolest cover, the only LP with a hairy green tail, needs to be on the list. Mario Schiano created the two best, most kicking album titles ever, and this is one of them. The other is Mario Schiano and His All-Stars, which is a solo record. Alto saxophonist Schiano is the godfather of Italian free jazz, here playing an unforgettable, fucked-up version of “Moonlight In Vermont.” All in all, the perfect combination of rarity, kick-ass music, and fetish quality.
Tom Prehn Quartet
Sonet, never-issued, 1963
This gives me the experience of having to come all the way from Sweden to Chicago to find out about the rarest Scandanavian jazz record ever, as rare as the Swedish Bird Notes LPs by Bengt “Frippe” Nordström. Technically, this is not in Corbett’s collection, it’s in production for a future CD. Two test-pressings were originally made with finished covers and labels, but the LP never saw the light of day. Brutally amazing concretistic cover that fits like a glove with the expressive, in-your-face free jazz. This beauty smells good!
Deutsche Grammophon, 1971
A classic gatefold double-LP of weird and fantastic sound productions created on self-made instruments including a gas-blown lamp with metal tube and five-tongued ratchet. The booklet has beautiful black-and-white photos documenting the instruments. Makes me want to cook! Sounds for the future, an absolutely fundamental need, this will fit perfectly in my luggage.
Karl Berger & Company
Amazing to find a record in your collection on a big label like Milestone that I’ve never seen. Drives me crazy. This is like a Don Cherry record without Don Cherry, with Ed Blackwell on drums, Carlos Ward on alto, and a young Dave Holland on bass, joining vibist leader Berger. This is fucking great. There’s an expression in Swedish, “Det svänger så det svartnar,” or “It swings until you pass out.” I want to kill you. Watch your back!
This one , makes me wanna kill myself, because when I was younger and even more foolish I gave it to you as a present. For me this is the number one Sun Ra record. Members of the Arkestra playing homemade string-instruments in incomplete unison. I’ll never see another original copy. See you in Hell! But then again I am so delighted that you, in return, gave me the rarest of them all, the first Ra 7-inch. So let’s call it even and nobody has to be killed!
Mats Gustafsson, 2008
published in Stop Smiling, Chicago
(UPDATE 2012…. I now only need to steel one of them… then I ll have a full hand…. so, give me that Tom Prehn lp, would u be so kind!!!)