“As long as you put your own personal language and voice into it, and not try to imitate or copy, you are cool, you are good. If you make music for other reasons, you ought to stay at home” Gustafsson said in an 2013 interview. He followed up by saying “The music is like life, only better!”.
And as life is usually long, unpredictable and full of sudden changes, Gustafsson’s musical lives are many and varied. His Nu Ensemble is particularly susceptible to changes – both in music and personnel, depending on the compositions that are being interpreted. The Nu Ensemble’s latest incarnation will focus on reconstructing and deconstructing the legacy of an artist who elevated his sarcasm to the rank of an art – Frank Zappa, musician, composer, conductor, leader of The Mothers of Invention
The details of this show are somewhat shrouded in mystery. Gustafsson’s take on Zappa is a project created especially for the Italian festival Ai Confini tra Sardegna e Jazz. Hidros ZAP premiered on September 9th, during the 31st edition of the festival. The extensive (and heavily deconstructed) repertoire included “The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue” from the album Weasels Ripped My Flesh, recorder by The Mothers of Invention in 1970, and “The Black Page #1” – a Zappa composition that is notoriously difficult to play live.
So what will Gustafsson and his Nu Ensemble surprise us with?
No one knows, but one thing’s for certain – it will leave nobody indifferent. The final show will be preceded by evenings with improvised music, where musicians will perform in smaller groups, thereby giving the audience a foretaste of what’s to come during the grand finale.
Joining Gustafsson on stage will be, among others, legendary trumpeter Joe McPhee, Viennese avant-garde musician dieb13, and singer Mariam Wallentin (half of Swedish experimental duo Wildbirds & Peacedrums), and the irreplaceable drummer Paal Nilssen-Love. The performance will be conducted by Bas Wiegers, who has collaborated with The Hague Philharmonic, The Rotterdam Philharmonic, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, the Gelders Orchestra, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Athens State Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra of Guanajuato, Asko|Schönberg, Britten Sinfonia, musikFabrik, Klangforum Wien, Nieuw Ensemble and the Ensemble Modern.
After the final concert at Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology (8 November) there will be an open meeting with the musicians. The Contemporary Music agenda was first introduced in the festival’s seventh year, as a forum for discussion about music and the music industry. The meeting will be moderated by journalist Rafał Zbrzeski.
Tickets 60 PLN in advance, 70 PLN on the day of the show