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Peter Brötzmann

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. 

Featured releases

Cien Fuegos presents a reissue of Peter Brötzmann's 14 Love Poems, recorded and first released by FMP in 1984. Inspired by a poetry booklet by Kenneth Patchen (from which it takes it‘s title), this album focuses on expression and emotion. "A monument of post-free solo reeds playing and a stunning item in Peter Brötzmann's discography, 14 Love Poems is arguably the German saxophonist and clarinetist's strongest, most compelling solo statement. Recorded and first released by FMP in 1984, this LP showcases the full scope of the man's art and presents it in a form much more enticing than what you'd expect. This album focuses on expression and emotion instead of virility or power (two terms often used to describe Brötzmann's playing). If 14 Love Poems can be dubbed "the softer side of Peter Brötzmann," it is by no mean a collection of watered-down solos. On the contrary, one finds all the energy, ferociousness, and angst the man is rightfully known for, but his palette of feelings is stretched out to also include tenderness, elevation, and beatitude. The opening "NR. 1" (no titles, just numbers) is in fact a tempered, delicate rendition of Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman" on baritone sax. All the other pieces are freely improvised. They are all short (nothing over five and a half minutes), and the track list emphasizes mood swings and instrument swapping. In the course of the original album's 50 minutes, Brötzmann plays baritone; tenor and alto saxes; A, E flat, and bass clarinets; and tarogato. The range of instruments, emotions, and techniques (from straightforward melody to sound-breath techniques, circular breathing, split tones, etc.) produces a very rich, diverse, and ultimately endearing album. These pieces were recorded during the original sessions, August 21-23, 1984. Despite the fact that they don't add to the album (in terms of sound palette or techniques), they are just as lovely and striking as the pieces originally released -- not leftovers at all. This album is essential to understand the solo albums later recorded by John Butcher, Alessandro Bosetti, and the like. "Highly recommended. 10/10"  AllMusicGuide --- Peter Brötzmann / alto, tenor & baritone saxophone, a-,e-flat & bass clarinet, tarogato --- Cover by Peter Brötzmann. Producer: Jost Gebers, Peter Brötzmann. Mix: Jost Gebers, Peter Brötzmann.All compositions by Peter Brötzmann, except Lonely Woman by Ornette Coleman. Recorded and first released by FMP in 1984

PETER BRÖTZMANN – 14 Love Poems

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