Peter Brötzmann/Fred Van Hove/Han Bennink: Jazz in the Kammer No. 71 (Trost)

It was breathtaking when Jimmy Fallon ridiculed Peter Brötzmann on national television. Last year, apropos of nothing, the chuckling ‘Slow Jam the News’ purveyor took it upon himself to compile a ‘Do Not Play List’, which included the German saxophonist’s seminal 1969 album Nipples. How Fallon grimaced; how he backed away from the twisted, jagged solo.

Brötzmann didn’t take it personally; he took it with amusement and perplexity. However, this titan does not laugh. For over 55 years, Brötzmann has created deeply intellectual and rebellious art on his own terms, something very few can say they have done.

Now we have more with Jazz in the Kammer Nr. 71– and if you think of pseudo-intellectual austerity when you think of free jazz, you’re in the wrong place. From top to bottom, this April 1974 concert in Berlin with Brötzmann on tenor sax and clarinet, Fred van Hove on piano and Han Bennink on drums and percussion is smart, wild and wickedly fun – less akin to free jazz that Jerry Lee Lewis’ Live at the Star Club.

From the unbridled “Schwarzspecht” to the jagged “Der Mammutzahn aus Balve” to the cranial “Involved”, Jazz in the Kammer is as good an entry into Brötzmann’s singular universe as any: let your ears relax and it’s purely anarchic, uncompromising art, not the stuff of pugnacious Discog salesmen vying for bent corners.

Plus, it’s worth hearing even if your usual tastes stray from that sphere, if only for the fact that the world is becoming more streamlined, corporatized, and linear by the day. Which makes our real weirdos, like Brötzmann, more interesting than ever.

Learn more about Jazz in the Kammer Nr. 71 at Amazon and Apple Music!

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