The Thing is a Norwegian/Swedish jazz band, consisting of Mats Gustafsson (saxophones), Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (double bass), and Paal Nilssen-Love (drums).
The trio was established in February 2000 during a series of concerts in Stockholm and a recording of Don Cherry-compositions that was released in Sweden by the label Crazy Wisdom/Universal. Melding German, British and American traditions of free music, their repertoire has later been collected from various sources such as James Blood Ulmer, Frank Lowe, PJ Harvey, White Stripes and Joe McPhee. McPhee was also a participating musician on the “She Knows…” album (2001). Other guests who have joined the Thing for recording and performances include Ken Vandermark, Otomo Yoshihide, Thurston Moore, Jim O’Rourke and Jeb Bishop.
“Garage” was released on the Smalltown Superjazzz label in 2004. An EP of live material performed with Joe McPhee and Cato Salsa Experience was released in 2005, as well as a live album. 2006 saw the release of Action Jazz also on Smalltown Superjazz. The group covers material from Ornette Coleman, Lightning Bolt, Yosuke Yamashita and others in addition to original material. The group are the only free jazz ensemble working today who wear stage uniforms. They perform clad in t-shirts from Ruby’s Barbecue Restaurant in Austin, Texas.
In June 2012, they released an album that they collaborated on, as Swedish-British singer Neneh Cherry’s accompaniment, for their album The Cherry Thing. This album is Neneh Cherry’s first foray into music again after a 16 year hiatus from the industry.