Peter Brötzmann's early interest was in painting and he attended the art academy in Wuppertal. Being very dissatisfied with the gallery/exhibition situation in art he found greater satisfaction playing with semi-professional musicians, though continued to paint (as well as retaining a level of control over his own records, particularly in record sleeve/CD booklet design). In late 2005 he had a major retrospective exhibition jointly with Han Bennink - two separate buildings separated by an inter-connecting glass corridor - in Brötzmann's home town of Remscheid.
Self-taught on clarinets, he soon moved to saxophones and began playing swing/bebop, before meeting Peter Kowald. During 1962/63 Brötzmann, Kowald and various drummers played regularly - Mingus, Ornette Coleman, etc. - while experiencing freedoms from a different perspective via Stockhausen, Nam June Paik, David Tudor and John Cage. In the mid 1960s, he played with American musicians such as Don Cherry and Steve Lacy and, following a sojourn in Paris with Don Cherry, returned to Germany for his unorthodox approach to be accepted by local musicians like Alex von Schlippenbach and Manfred Schoof. The trio of Peter Brötzmann, Peter Kowald and Sven-Ake Johansson began playing in 1965/66 and it was a combination of this and the Schoof/Schlippenbach Quintet that gave rise to the first Globe Unity Orchestra. Following the self-production of his first two LPs, For Adolphe Sax and Machine gun for his private label, BRÖ, a recording for Manfred Eicher's 'Jazz by Post' (JAPO) [Nipples], and a number of concert recordings with different sized groups, Brötzmann worked with Jost Gebers and started the FMP label. He also began to work more regularly with Dutch musicians, forming a trio briefly with Willem Breuker and Han Bennink before the long-lasting group with Han Bennink and Fred Van Hove. As a trio, and augmented with other musicians who could stand the pace (e.g. Albert Mangelsdorff on, for example, The Berlin concert), this lasted until the mid-1970s though Brötzmann and Bennink continued to play and record as a duo, and in other combinations, after this time. A group with Harry Miller and Louis Moholo continued the trio format though was cut short by Miller's early death.
The thirty-plus years of playing and recording free jazz and improvised music have produced, even on just recorded evidence, a list of associates and one-off combinations that include just about all the major figures in this genre: Derek Bailey (including performances with Company (e.g. Incus 51), Cecil Taylor, Fred Hopkins, Rashied Ali, Evan Parker, Keiji Haino, Misha Mengelberg, Anthony Braxton, Marilyn Crispell, Andrew Cyrille, Phil Minton, Alfred 23 Harth, Tony Oxley. Always characterised as an energy player - and the power-rock setting of Last Exit with Ronald Shannon Jackson, Sonny Sharock and Bill Laswell, or his duo performances with his son, Casper, did little to disperse this conviction - his sound is one of the most distinctive, life-affirming and joyous in all music. But the variety of Brötzmann's playing and projects is less recognised: his range of solo performances; his medium-to-large groups and, in spite of much ad hoc work, a stability brought about from a corpus of like- minded musicians: the group Ruf der Heimat; pianist Borah Bergman; percussionist Hamid Drake; and Die like a dog, his continuing tribute to Albert Ayler, with Drake, William Parker and Toshinori Kondo. Peter Brötzmann continues a heavy touring schedule which, since 1996 has seen annual visits to Japan and semi-annual visits to the thriving Chicago scene where he has played in various combinations from solo through duo (including one, in 1997, with Mats Gustafsson) to large groups such as the Chicago Octet/Tentet, described below. He has also released a number of CDs on the Chicago-based Okka Disk label, including the excellent trio with Hamid Drake and the Moroccan Mahmoud Gania, at times sounding like some distant muezzin calling the faithful to become lost in the rhythm and power of the music.
The "Chicago Tentet" was first organized by Brötzmann with the assistance of writer/presenter John Corbett in January 1997 as an idea for a one-time octet performance that included Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang (drums), Kent Kessler (bass) and Fred Lomberg-Holm (cello), Ken Vandermark and Mars Williams (reeds), and Jeb Bishop (trombone). The first meeting was extremely strong and warranted making the group an ongoing concern and in September of that same year the band was expanded to include Mats Gustafsson (reeds) and Joe McPhee (brass) as permanent members (with guest appearances by William Parker (bass), Toshinori Kondo (trumpet/electronics), and Roy Campbell (trumpet) during its tenure) - all in all a veritable who's who of the contemporary improvising scene's cutting edge. Though the Tentet is clearly led by Brötzmann and guided by his aesthetics, he has been committed to utilizing the compositions of other members in the ensemble since the beginning. This has allowed the band to explore an large range of structural and improvising tactics: from the conductions of Mats Gustafsson and Fred Lonberg-Holm, to the vamp pieces of Michael Zerang and Hamid Drake, to compositions using conventional notation by Ken Vandermark and Mars Williams, to Brötzmann's graphic scores - the group employs almost every contemporary approach to composing for an improvising unit. This diversity in compositional style, plus the variety in individualistic approaches to improvisation, allows the Tentet to play extremely multifaceted music. As the band moves from piece to piece, it explores intensities that range from spare introspection to all out walls of sound, and rhythms that are open or free from a steady pulse to those of a heavy hitting groove. It is clear that the difficult economics of running a large band hasn't prevented the group from continuing to work together since its first meeting. Through their effort they've been able to develop an ensemble sound and depth of communication hard to find in a band of any size or style currently playing on the contemporary music scene.
Peter Evans has been a member of the New York musical community since 2003, when he moved to the city after graduating Oberlin Conservatory. Peter currently works in a wide variety of areas, including solo performance, chamber orchestras, performance art, free improvised settings, electro-acoustic music and composition. As a performer, Evans has been working to break through the technical barriers of his instrument and enjoys playing with steady configurations of improvisers; each band explores a specific concept or style as much as possible. Current bands include the Peter Evans Quartet (with Brandon Seabrook, Tom Blancarte, & Kevin Shea), Moppa Elliott's terrorist bebop band Mostly Other People Do the Killing, the hyperactive free-improvisation duo Sparks (with Tom Blancarte), the free-jazz quintet Carnivalskin (with Klaus Kugel and Bruce Eisenbeil), the Language Of with Charles Evans, duos with trumpeter Nate Wooley and saxophonist Dave Reminick, the New York Trumpet Ensemble, as well as a sustained interest in solo performance. In New York, Peter also performs contemporary notated music with groups such as the International Contemporary Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, Contiuum, and Ensemble 21. He has continued to perform on piccolo trumpet in Baroque settings, performing Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 at the Bargemusic series, and in Bach’s Mass in B Minor at St Peter’s Church. Other collaborators have included: Mary Halvorson, Dave Taylor, John Zorn, Okkyung Lee, Taylor Ho Bynum, Perry Robinson, Jim Black, Evan Parker, Ned Rothenberg, Mark Gould, Jack Wright, Luka Ivanovic, Brian Chase, and Alan Kay. Recent travels have brought Peter to venues and festivals in the U.S., Canada, Europe, the UK, and Southeast Asia. Recordings include "More is More", a solo trumpet album on psi, the self-titled first album of the Peter Evans Quartet (on firehouse12), and Shamokin!, the second album by MOPDTK, on HotCup Records.
Tom Blancarte was born in Augusta, Georgia in 1979. He spent most of his life in Austin, Texas where he lived until he left for studies at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas in 1998. Inspired by the sounds of Metallica and Black Sabbath, he picked up the electric bass at the age of 13, eventually getting a double-bass a few years later. In college he studied the double-bass with Lynn Seaton and Jeff Bradetich, played many types of improvised music and played in the rock band Cumulonimbus. Having discovered the musics of Albert Ayler, Anthony Braxton and Evan Parker, among others, he set off on the treacherous path of free improvisation, which he continues to navigate today. While still interested in the possibilities of notated musics, free improvisation serves as his primary approach to music-making. Tom now lives in Manhattan, New York, where he plays with the bands Torus, Who Put The Bad Mouth On Me, the duo Sparks with Peter Evans and various ad hoc groupings.
Added by Josh Carr on March 27, 2008