Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet // Two Day Residency

Peter Brotzmann

Friday 9 November 2012


Saturday 10 November 2012


Door Times : 8pm

Two Day Passes are SOLD OUT


We are thrilled to welcome back Peter Brötzmann's Chicago Tentet to Cafe OTO. The group's three day residency in April 2011 for Peter's 70th birthday still stands out as a highlight in our short history as a venue with a series of fascinating small group sets and the full band performing astonishing, transformative feats of collective free improvisation each night...

Brötzmann Chicago Tentet:
Joe McPhee / Pocket Trumpet, Reeds
Mats Gustafsson / Reeds
Ken Vandermark / Reeds
Paal Nilssen-Love / Drums, Percussion
Fred Lonberg-Holm / Cello, Electronics
Per Åke Holmlander / Tuba
Johannes Bauer / Trombone
Michael Zerang / Drums, Percussion
Kent Kessler / Bass
Jeb Bishop / Trombone

Peter Brötzmann Photo by Scott McMillan

"Seeing and hearing these groupings come together, mutate, fall apart is riveting, joyous, a celebration of possibility, over and over again." - Frances Morgan, The Quietus


Peter Brötzmann is one of the most important and uncompromising figures in free jazz and has been at the forefront of developing a unique, European take on free improvisation since the 1960s.

Brötzmann first trained as a painter and was associated with Fluxus (Participating in various events and working as an assistant to Nam Jun Paik) before dissatisfaction with the art world moved his focus towards music. However he continued to paint and his instantly recognisable visual sensibility has produced some of our favourite LP sleeves as well as a number of gallery shows in recent years.

Self-taught on Clarinet and Saxophone, Brötzmann established himself as one of the most powerful and original players around, releasing a number of now highly sought after sides of musical invention including the epochal 'Machine Gun' session in 1968 - originally released on his own Brö private press and later recordings for FMP (Free Music Production) the label he started with Jost Gebers. Brötzmann's sound is "one of the most distinctive, life-affirming and joyous in all music" and he has performed with almost all of the major players of free music from early associations with Don Cherry and Steve Lacy to regular groupings with Peter Kowald, Alex Von Slippenbach, Han Bennink and Fred Van Hove, the Chicago Tentet (Mats Gustafsson/Joe McPhee/Ken Vandermark and more) and various one-off and ad hoc associations with many others including Keiji Haino, Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Anthony Braxton and Rashied Ali.

Peter Broetzmann Website

"If you touch the horn, you play it with all you have. It doesn't matter whether it's a rehearsal or a performance and that's the only way for us." - Tentet interview at

Joe McPhee, Johannes Bauer, Jeb Bishop, Per Åke Holmlander // Photo by Andy Newcombe

JOE McPHEE / pocket trumpet, reeds

Joe McPhee is one of the most relevant free and transgressive spirits in reshaping the forms and vocabularies of jazz and free improvisation. Working early on with some of the most forward thinking musicians of his generation, people with like-minded aesthetical and spiritual concerns, towards the vibrant and the unknown, not only did he play with the cream of the crop of the most clairvoyant European and American jazz, but he also collaborated with the vanguard of electronic music in the 1970's, as is the case with Pauline Oliveros' Deep Listening Band, a pioneer of continuous music.

"... [Joe Mcphee's] magical take on avant-garde sax remains one of the wonders of the scene. He still has one of the most beautiful tones on the planet, even when he’s reaching for jazz’s outer limits." - Time Out New York


Per-Åke Holmlander was born in 1957 in Skelleftea in the very north of Sweden. Holmlander received his diploma in classical tuba in 1983 at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm he has always worked simultaneously with improvisation, jazz and rock music as well as classical and contemporary music.

As an improviser Holmlander has worked with Marilyn Crispell, Paul Lovens, Folke Rabe, Phil Minton, Sten Sandell, Sven-Åke Johansson, Mats Persson, Gunter Christmann, Kjell Westling, Keith Rowe, and in the Barry Guy New Orchestra, Fredrik Ljungkvist and his Yun Kan 5 & Yun Kan 10, Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet, Ken Vandermark's Resonance Ensemble and Swedish azz with Mats Gustafsson.


Born in 1954 in Halle/Saale (GDR), Bauer studied music (trombone) in East-Berlin and has been performing as an improvising musician since the late 70s and was as leading several workshop bands, he is a founding member of Doppelmoppel, Slawterhaus, The Tradition Trio, FOURinONE, FUTCH amongst others. He has a long history of collaborations with some of the leading players in European free music including Manfred Schulze, Peter Brötzmann, Jon Rose, Fred Van Hove and Barry Guy.

JEB BISHOP / Trombone

Chicago-based musician Jeb Bishop has performed, toured and recorded with groups including the Vandermark Five, the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet, Ted Sirota's Rebel Souls, Terminal Four, School Days, Ken Vandermark's Territory Band, Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Orchestra, Globe Unity Orchestra, and his own Jeb Bishop Trio. He also co-leads the Lucky 7s project with New Orleans-based trombonist Jeff Albert, and is a member of cooperative quartet The Engines. Every year since 2001, he has been recognized as a Talent Deserving Wider Recognition (Rising Star) in Downbeat Magazine's International Critics' Poll.

Jeb Bishop website

Fred Lonberg Holm, Kent Kessler, Mats Gustafsson, Ken Vandermark, Paal Nilssen-Love // Photo by Andy Newcombe

FRED LONBERG-HOLM / cello, electronics

Fred Lonberg-Holm is a cellist of considerable range and versatility. Combining his instrument with a small selection of electronics he provides textural and melodic counterpoint alongside more pizzacato percussive playing and shuddering bass drops.

"Under the American's ministrations, the cello functioned as effectively in a noise environment as in its more customary chamber habitat. Adjusting his buttons and pedals while bowing, the cellist added sheets of buzzes, white noise and interference. Lonberg-Holm's technique astonished close up, whether scrubbing on his strings, creating hyper distortion, or tapping percussively with both the horsehair and the heel of his bow. Such was his ardor, that almost straight away half the hairs were trailing from the bow." All About Jazz review of the Lonberg-Holm/Nilssen-Love duo at Cafe OTO.


Kessler has been a chicago free jazz stalwart since the early 90s. Performing with NRG ensemble, The Vandermark 5, DKV Trio and Steelwool Trio. In addition to his performances with Tentet members Brötzmann, McPhee, Vandermark and Gustafsson, Kessler has also performed with acclaimed Misha Mengelberg, Luc Houtkamp, Fred Anderson and more.


Hailing from Umeå in Northern Sweden, Gustafsson is a saxophonist/composer/improviser working across noise, electronics, contemporary rock and free jazz as well as contemporary dance, theater and art projects. He has performed both as a solo artist and toured internationally with Peter Brötzmann, Sonic Youth, Merzbow, Jim O´Rourke, Barry Guy, Otomo Yoshihide, Yoshimi, Ken Vandermark and in working groups The Thing, Sonore, FIRE!, Gush, Boots Brown, Swedish Azz and Nash Kontroll. He also participates in the large ensembles Barry Guy New Orchestra, Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet and the NU – ensemble.

Mats Gustafsson website


Since the spring of 1986, Ken Vandermark has focused on expanding the possibilities of improvised and composed music. He's worked continuously from the middle 1990's onward- both as a performer and organizer in North America and Europe- and his creative emphasis has been contemporary music that deals directly with advanced methods of improvisation. Resident in Chicago for more than two decades, he tours extensively performing with his groups Made To Break, Side A, Platform 1, Free Fall, and the Resonance Ensemble. In addition, he works on a regular basis with the total improvisation units Sonore, the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet, separate duos with the percussionists Paal Nilssen-Love and Tim Daisy, Lean Left, iTi, and Fire Room.

"Each of these musicians is a known quantity, and if what you want is a strong and intense playing, each of them will reliably deliver the goods. But they want more. Within the boundaries of certain givens — their individual sounds on their reed instruments, and their collective commitment to improvising using the post-Albert Ayler reed vocabulary — they want to make the music immediate in ways that transcend simple, face-blasting intensity. It’s not the same thing as total surprise, or even freshness. They’re going for undiluted engagement with the sound’s force and transformation, and with each other. They’re going for being there, even though “there” is never in the same place. And on the night in London that is captured on this disc, they were all there." Bill Meyer on SONORE (Vandermark / Gustafsson / Brötzmann) OTO LP


Paal Nilssen-Love is "one of the most innovative, dynamic and versatile drummers in jazz!" (Downbeat). He has lent his incredible speed and unstoppable creative dynamism to countless groups, notably The Thing and his long-running duo with Chicago saxophonist Ken Vandermark.


Working across improvised music, free jazz, contemporary composition, experimental theater, and international musical forms Zerang has performed with many innovative musicians including AACM co-founder Fred Anderson, Raymond Strid, Sten Sandell, Don Meckley, Jaap Blonk and many others.

"In his work from full-on free jazz to collective spontaneous improvisations to his percussion solos to celebratory solstice celebrations with drummer Hamid Drake to participation in theater and performance events to composition and sound events [Zerang] has developed an almost orchestral approach to his extended kit, drawing on the legacy of AACM and drummers like Fielder, Ed Blackwell and Phillip Wilson." Dusted Magazine

This event is part of the 2012 London Jazz Festival.

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