Updated: Jul 25
Influenced by Sidney Bechet, Brözmann took up clarinet as a young teenager, but mostly concentrated on saxophone thereafter. He was also a notable visual artist. Free Jazz was his field and he emerged as one of its greatest exponents.
In 1967 he released his first album “For Adolphe Sax”, but it was his album “Machine Gun” that really hit the spot for younger generations. It was a powerful and provocative subject for a Free Jazz saxophonist, and I seem to remember JIMI HENDRIX did something similar, although the title is also a reference to DON CHERRY’s nickname for Peter.
Peter Brötzmann has led some fantastic bands down the years that have included one with bassist Bill Laswell and guitarist Sonny Sharrock. The uncompromising nature of his music is perhaps illustrated by the naming of his Die Like A Dog Quartet of trumpet/ bass/ drums, and of course sax and clarinet. He also led the Chicago Tentet.
He also had a World view of music collaborating with musicians from all over the globe. Perhaps the best example of this is in a live setting at the Berlin Jazzfest, working with the amazing Majid Bekkas and Hamid Drake and released on the German ACT label. I reckon Peter must have been approaching 70 at the time, but his superhuman blowing powers and the exquisite contrasting emotions he teases from his saxophone were undiminished,. The drumming, percussion and chanting accompanying him are literally ‘out of this world’. I felt a strong connection to two other important artists and albums in my life: the desert blues of Tinarawen and STEVE WINWOOD’s collaboration playing electric guitar on the ‘Aiye Keta’ album. While neither of these featured saxophone they were equally ground-breaking as Peter’s World music in their own ways.