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Peter Brötzmann

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Remscheid, Germany (1941 – present)

Peter Brötzmann (born March 6, 1941 in Remscheid, Germany) is a German saxophonist.

Brötzmann is among the most important European free jazz musicians. His rough, lyrical timbre is easily recognized on his many recordings.

He studied painting in Wuppertal and was involved with the Fluxus movement, but grew dissatisfied with art galleries and exhibitions. He has not abandoned his art training, however: Brötzmann has designed most of his own album covers. He first taught himself to play various clarinets, then saxophones; he is perhaps the only jazz musician to play the tárogató. Among his first musical partnerships was that with double bassist Peter Kowald.

For Adolphe Sax, Brötzmann’s first recording, was released in 1967 and featured Kowald alongside drummer Sven-Åke Johansson.

1968 saw the release of Machine Gun, an octet recording often listed among the most notable free jazz albums. One critic has written Machine Gun offers “a heavy-impact sonic assault so aggressive it still knocks listeners back on their heels decades later.”

The logistical difficulties of touring with an octet resulted in Brötzmann eventually slimming the group to a trio once again, the most notable and lasting one with Han Bennink and Fred Van Hove.

In the 1980s, Brötzmann flirted with and in the supergroup Last Exit.

Brötzmann has remained active, touring and recording regularly. He has released over thirty albums as a bandleader, and has appeared on dozens more, with groups such as his Die Like A Dog Quartet (with Toshinori Kondo, William Parker and Hamid Drake

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