After an uneventful train ride from Gothenburg to Uppsala (via Stockholm), I met up with Mattias Risberg at a pub next to the Omnikvariatet. Here we enjoyed a glass of local Rhubarb beer, along with a real Irish style dinner. Unfortunately, we heard the sad news that Raymond Strid's mother had passed away a few days earlier, which meant he wouldn't be available to play with us. I was quite saddened by that, as I've always enjoyed working with this amazing musician. Raymond Strid is considered a legend on the Swedish scene. Not satisfied with the state of international dissemination of Nordic jazz in the late 80's, largely dominated by the ECM label, which created a strong stylistic profile, lead by Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek, Raymond joined forces with pianist Sten Sendell and saxophonist Mats Gustaffson to form the Gush trio, which would go on to tour internationally and collaborate with some of the finest improvisers on the scene, notably with British musicians Barry Guy, Evan Parker and Paul Lovens. I first played with Raymond at the Vancouver jazz festival in the early nineties in a trio with French bassist Joëlle Léandre. We recorded two albums with this trio (C'est Ça - Red Toucan, and Last Seen Headed - Ayler Records). Last time I played with Ray and Joëlle was at the New Perspective Festival in Vasterås, Sweden, so I was so looking forward to see him. Until next time, Ray Battle!
On the positive side, Jon Fëlt was able to come from Stockholm on short notice to join us for an evening of spirited music. Mattias and him obviously have a great mutual respect and love of improvisation, making it easy for me to fit in. The venue was full of really great, knowledgeable listeners, including a few local musicians and students, who expressed their enthusiasm immediately after we finished.
After the gig Mattias and I enjoyed a beer by the canal, and reminisced on what had been a fantastic week of music. I will miss you, Sweden. Thanks to All the musicians who shared in playing, and all of those who came to hear us play and meet me. I can't wait to come back.
next stop: Paris!