“You actually go on TOUR with that stuff. Wow.”

It’s not strictly the newest of discoveries, but we couldn’t resist sharing this brilliant bit of correspondence from famed illustrator and obsessive record collector Robert Crumb to the wild Swede of free jazz saxophone, Mats Gustafsson.

The letter was reproduced in the liner notes for Gustafsson’s latest album, Torturing The Saxophone, which takes its name from Crumb’s baffled evaluation of his playing style.

“I just totally fail to find anything enjoyable about this, or to see what this has to do with music as I understand it, or what in God’s name is going on in your head that you would want to make such noises on a musical instrument,” writes Crumb, who admits he has labelled the CD with “Torturing the saxophone – Mats Gustafsson”.

Crumb adds: “Quite frankly, I was kind of shocked at what a negative, unpleasant experience it was, listening to it.”

The record, incidentally, compiles three of Gustafsson’s ultra-limited LPs, on which the skronker puts his free jazz spin on compositions by Duke Ellington, Albert Ayler and Lars Gullin. Perhaps Crumb would have preferred his free jazz with a sprinkling of Neneh Cherry, as heard on her 2012 album collaboration with Gustafsson’s free jazz outfit The Thing.

Read the letter in full below, and thanks to Jeb Bishop and the Frozen Reeds label for spotting it.

crumb liner notes



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