Peter Brötzmann


Yonkie, Peter Brötzmann at "Sonore" concert, Lviv, CC BY 3.0

Peter Brötzmann (6 March 194122 June 2023) was a German jazz saxophonist and clarinetist regarded as a central and pioneering figure in European free jazz. Throughout his career, he released over fifty albums as a bandleader. Amongst his many collaborators were key figures in free jazz, like Derek Bailey or Anthony Braxton.

Brötzmann studied painting in Wuppertal and was involved with the Fluxus movement but grew dissatisfied with art galleries and exhibitions. Don Cherry gave him a nickname "Machine Gun", "to describe his violent style".

Brötzmann was a member of Han Bennink's Instant Composers Pool, a collective of musicians who released their own records and that grew into a 10-piece orchestra.

In the 1980s, Brötzmann's music was influenced by heavy metal and noise rock. He was a member of Last Exit and recorded music with the band's bass guitarist and producer Bill Laswell.

Brötzmann released over fifty albums as a bandleader and appeared on dozens more. His "Die Like a Dog Quartet" was loosely inspired by saxophonist Albert Ayler, a prime influence on Brötzmann's music. Beginning in 1997, he toured and recorded regularly with the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet (initially an octet). For this band, in 2002, Brötzmann devised and produced his two music games: Signs and Images.


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