Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Peter Brötzmann Octet – Machine Gun (Alternate Takes) TROST RECORDS 2018

First time issued on vinyl: alternate takes from the essential "Machine Gun" album on Brotzmann's BRO label in 1968, aggressive but astute music from now-legendary players Brotzmann, Evan Parker & Gerd Dudek on tenor sax (Brotzmann doubles on baritone sax), Peter Kowald on bass, Fred Van Hove on piano, Buschi Niebergall on bass, and two drummers - Han Bennink & Sven-Ake Johansson.

"Alternate versions, never before released on vinyl from Peter Brotzmann Octet's Machine Gun (1968)."-Cien Fuegos

"The Tet Offensive. The Democratic National Convention In Chicago. The MLK and RFK assasinations. And if 1968 wasn't violent enough, West German avant garde tenorman Peter Brötzmann unleashed Machine Gun unto the world.

Unhinged, utterly devoid of subtlety. In your face. Of all the entries that may follow in my Whack Jazz series, none will be as extreme an expression of free jazz as this one, John Zorn's Naked City with Yamatsuka Eye notwithstanding.

Major eruptions are followed by minor ones. Occasional rat-a-tat-tats on the drums by Han Bennink for the various takes of the title song is a simple reminder of the theme. The other saxophonists Willem Breuker and Evan Parker join PB for some impromtu faux choruses but despite everyone blowing at their hardest, Brötzmann's tenor always manages to rise above the chaos; the man has steel lungs. Pianist Fred Van Hove is barely audible most of the time and even having two bassists...Peter Kowald and Buschi Niebergall...doesn't make for a consistently strong presence on the low end, either, although where they are heard, they make the most of the opportunity. Just as the alert ear can begin to pick up some semblance of a simple melody rising from the chaos, the ensemble blows it up into total disintegration, as if to be playing an evil game of creating enemies for the pleasure of cutting them down; an influence of the then-living Albert Ayler.

Virtually all the players on this record were at the beginning of their careers and have since become some pretty significant jazz players in Europe and the world. Bennink himself will merit his own entry on this blog one day.

So while it's pretty cool to say that Peter Brötzmann is a favorite tenor player of the former Leader Of The Free World, it's even more cool to explore his music and discover how he's become such a giant in both European jazz and free jazz. Machine Gun is where the greatness begins."-S. Victor Aaron, Something Else Reviews (originally published in Whack Jazz)

Peter Brötzmann: baritone saxophone, tenor saxophone
Peter Kowald: acoustic bass
Buschi Niebergall: acoustic bass
Sven-Ake Johansson: drums
Han Bennink: drums
Fred Van Hove: piano
Evan Parker: tenor saxophone
Willem Breuker: tenor saxophone

1. Machine Gun (Second Take)

1. Responsible / For Jan Van De Ven (First Take)