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Peter Brotzmann

Biography

Peter Brotzmann's primal tenor saxophone howl is one of the most distinctive sounds in Free Jazz. He emerged in the late 1960s as one of the leaders of the European improvised music scene, dropping classic destructo-noise bombs such as Machine Gun and Nipples on the fringes of the listening public. Unlike many of his early colleagues in the Euro-improv world (among them guitarist Derek Bailey and saxophonist Evan Parker) Brotzmann didn't distance himself from his American jazz influences. His playing is filled with the wild, expressive spirit, if not the bluesiness, of fellow tenor sax iconoclast Albert Ayler. But while Ayler concerned himself with spiritual and religious themes, Brotzmann comes across like a savage nihilist. His strength is an ability to channel his aggression, as he pushes the limits of intensity without allowing pure chaos to set in. His iron-lunged reed blowing hasn't especially mellowed with age, though a more subdued side does creep in at times (especially when he picks up the clarinet), allowing a welcome break from the heat.
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