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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Brian Brings Some Scary Free Jazz

(Scott)-Not a peep from me on this one, this falls way outside the realm of my limited "expertise" (such as it is)...I'll be checking these out, as I do EVERY SINGLE THING anyone sends me, and thanks once again to Brian for bringing eccentricity and variety to the table!

Here is a post I hope won't fall on too many deaf ears. I've barely hinted at it before, but I'm a nut for jazz music... I have 150+ CDs of it. And I should say, not the TV menu/background music/smooth jazz kind of crap that passes for it nowadays. I like my stuff pre-1980, that's for sure. I've got a lot of classics to share. But first, we're gonna go weird....

The strangest discipline of jazz I've gotten into is the free stuff. While I have many key albums from the leading artists of the style - Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor - for me, the person who's created the most apocalyptic, fascinating free jazz is German saxophonist Peter Brötzmann. He has been a lynchpin of European free music since the mid-60's. Any number of major musicians have played with him over the years.

This first one is an album I posted last year. Machine Gun was a defining moment of 1960's free jazz. The group Brötz assembled consisted of three saxes, a piano, two basses, and two drummers. Comparatively, this thing is like Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz with a shotgun to it's head! Just an explosiveness of sound, reaching a point where the instruments transcend the very idea of music itself and just go for emotion. This file is a rip of my really out of print 2008 Complete Machine Gun Sessions CD.

Balls and Nipples are two mischievously titled albums from the late 60's. Balls is a trio album consisting of Brötz, dynamite drummer Han Bennink, and pianist Fred Van Howe, all returning from Machine Gun. They create a hell of a racket with just three of them. Nipples is a sextet affair, consisting of two long tracks. I don't know the personnel.

In the mid 80's, Brötzmann formed the group Last Exit with bassist Bill Laswell, guitarist Sonny Sharrock, and drummed Ronald Shannon Jackson. They created a driving, rock-edged kind of free jazz, fronted by Brötz's saxophone and the shards of Sharrock's guitar. I've always  wondered if this group was influential to John Zorn; I think his jazz-metal supergroup Painkiller bears no small resemblance to Last Exit.

While they almost exclusively released live albums - of which I've included the dynamic Köln here - they released one studio record, the very rare Iron Path from 1988. If you like energetic music in all it's forms, you just need these two. Maximum volume, kids....

In the late 90's, Brötz formed the Die Like A Dog Quartet. The name of the group refers to how Brötz's musical idol Albert Ayler died. The group featured William Parker and Hamid Drake as the rhythm section, and trumpeter Toshinori Kondo as co-lead instrument. Kondo's trumpet - which bears the strong stamp of Miles Davis's smeary, wailing 70's electric sound - drives Brötz to even greater heights of saxophone fire-breathing.

The centerpiece of their discography is the two disc live album Little Birds Have Fast Hearts. It consist of six parts, ranging in length from 4 mins to 45 minutes long. The group displays any number of emotions and colors throughout while they create their intense sonic stew. Interplay like you can't imagine. These two files are the complete set - 2 1/2 hours of music. Apocalyptic shronk.

If you guys have ever gambled on one of 
my suggestions, try this one too. There is an intensity and purity to this music that must be respected. If your music collection includes grindcore, drone, noise music, or avant-garde strangeness, you may find something to like here. The bonus link for this post is 3 albums by one of my favorite cynical modern comics, a fella named Doug. I had posted one of his albums last year. Here it is again, along with two infamous bootlegs of his from the mid-2000s. This music and this comedy both stare into the abyss.








  2. Nice, Brotzmann rules! I've got a couple boots with him on it, they're great

  3. looking 4 the duo record with Jason Adasiewicz...can u help ?

  4. No, don't have that one. The only duo album of Brötz's is Born Broke

  5. thank you.

  6. Brilliant! Thanks so much.....

  7. Excellent Post! Thank you!
    Greetings from Greece.