Artists | Peter Brötzmann (DE)

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Peter Brötzmann (born 6 March 1941 in Remscheid, Germany) is an artist and free jazz saxophonist and clarinettist, one of the most important European free jazz musicians.

He studied painting in Wuppertal, but grew dissatisfied with art galleries and exhibitions. He has not abandoned his art training, however: Brötzmann has designed most of his own album covers.
He experienced his first real jazz concert when he saw American jazz musician Sidney Bechet while still in school at Wuppertal, and it made a lasting impression. He first taught himself to play various clarinets, then saxophones; he is also known for playing the tárogató. Among his first musical partnerships was that with double bassist Peter Kowald.

For Adolphe Sax, Brötzmann’s first recording, was released in 1967 and featured Kowald and Sven-Åke Johansson. (The trio with Peter Kowald and Sven-Åke Johansson was a part of a large Globe Unity Orchestra, formed in 1966.)
1968, the year of political turmoil in Europe, saw the release of Machine Gun, an octet recording with Evan Parker, Willem Breuker, Peter Kowald, Buschi Niebergall, Sven-Åke Johansson, Han Bennink, Fred Van Hove, often listed among the most notable free jazz albums. The album Nipples was recorded in 1969 with many of the Machine Gun musicians including Han Bennink, Fred Van Hove and Evan Parker, plus British free-improv guitarist Derek Bailey. Fuck De Boere (Dedicated to Johnny Dyani) is a live album of free sessions from these early years, containing two long improvisations, a 1968 recording of Machine Gun live (earlier than the studio version) and a longer jam from 1970.
The group bacame later a trio with Han Bennink and Fred Van Hove. Bennink was also partner in Schwarzwaldfahrt an album of duets recorded outside in the Black Forest in 1977 with Brötzmann’s sax and Bennink drumming on trees and other objects found in the woods.
Larger groups were put together again later, for example in 1981 Brötzmann made a radio broadcast with Frank Wright and Willem Breuker (saxes), Toshinori Kondo (trumpet), Hannes Bauer and Alan Tomlinson (trombones), Alexander von Schlippenbach (piano), Louis Moholo (drums), Harry Miller (bass). This was released as the album Alarm.
In the 1980s, Brötzmann flirted with heavy metal and noise rock, including a stint in Last Exit with Bill Laswell, Sonny Sharrock, Ronald Shannon Jackson.

Die Like A Dog Quartet (with Toshinori Kondo, William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake) is loosely inspired by saxophonist Albert Ayler, a prime influence on Brötzmann’s music.

Since 1997 he has toured and recorded regularly with the The Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet (initially an Octet) which he disbanded after an ensemble performance November 11, 2012 in Strasbourg, France.

In 2011 Brötzmann was a curator of the 25th edition of the Music Unlimited Festival in Wels, Austria, called Long Story Short.

Among other collaborations are: Full Blast with Marino Pliakas and Michael Wertmüller, Sonore with Ken Vandermark and Mats Gustafsson.

Brötzmann has remained active, touring and recording regularly. He has released over fifty albums as a bandleader, appeared on well over 100 albums and has recorded or performed with musicians including Cecil Taylor, Keiji Haino, Willem van Manen, Mats Gustafsson, Ken Vandermark, Paal Nilssen-Love, Conny Bauer, Joe McPhee and Brötzmann’s son, Caspar Brötzmann.