The Thing was established in February 2000 to play a series of concerts in Stockholm and a recording of Don Cherry compositions that was released in Sweden by the label Crazy Wisdom/Universal. Melting 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.
2004 saw the release of ‘Garage’ on the Smalltown Superjazzz label. 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 The Thing released the album ‘The Cherry Thing’, a collaboration with Swedish-British singer Neneh Cherry. The album was Cherry’s first album as a named leader for 16 years.