Peter Brotzmann at 80

Source: burning ambulance.

Brötzmann’s music has been misunderstood for almost his entire career. He’s described as a tyrannosaurus, a flame thrower, a blast furnace, an unfettered fire-breather, and his music is sold as if it’s a nonstop explosion. In truth, though, he’s often an intensely lyrical player, one with a deep sense of what his bandmates are doing and a love of true artistic communication. In 2018, I spoke to bassist Marino Pliakas and drummer Michael Wertmüller of Brötzmann’s long-running trio Full Blast about working with him. The bassist said, “Peter’s always got big ears and is very much hearing and interacting. If his co-players are not able to oppose something, then he just plays, of course. But with Michael and myself, it’s almost a jazzy approach, depending on each other and listening and firing at each other and stopping together and hearing crossfades. In my opinion, he’s a very good listener.”