FMP/FREE MUSIC PRODUCTION - An Edition of Improvised Music 1989-2004


Peter Brötzmann



MANY people didn't listen to him, he was disputed until the end of his short life. Most of all the critics and organizers mostly didn't really know what to do with him. The audience, especially in Europe, loved him.

... he believed in it.

From belief to vision there was only a little step, from vision to reality a jump into the East River. And even if it was that short, his life is an example and most of all his death is an evidence not very unusual for the every - day - depressions, which a player of "unsaleable music" - according to his friend and comrade-in-arms, Charles Tyler - is exposed to in the United States, and especially in New York. Certainly the appreciation he met in Europe did him good. But then, back to New York, the depressions came again. (One year before he died he had to bring his brother Donald into a Madhouse).

From the very beginning, the titles of his tunes have documented his longing for another, better world: Spiritual Unity / Ghosts / Truth Is Marching In / Universal Message / Holy Family / Our Prayer / Spirits Rejoice ... he really meant it.

During his last years, the discrepancy between his will and his existence became increasingly recognizable: on one side the attempt to open the music to everybody, to let everybody participate in his experiences, his wild energy, his love, to give everybody a part of his imagination. On the other hand poverty that comes along with repression. The last three albums were recorded without passion at the end of the 60's - back to Soul, R & B, garnished with banal Iyrics, pressurized by the record company. Not that there were any success.

After his concert in July 1970 in France, his fans were relieved: He was back again with all his passion and persuasiveness. Four month later, he would be fished out of New York's East River.

"It has become late for the world. And if I succeed in raising people to new levels of peace and understanding, I think that my life as a spiritual artist has been worth living."
Albert Ayler, 1966

The idea of expressing my love of and admiration for Albert Ayler - both man and music - in a musical statement is not new. We both tried to do similar or almost identical things at the same point in time, each independently and without knowing anything about each other - each of us within his own culture. In the last few years I had the pleasure and honour of working with friend and drummer Milford Graves, who stood by Albert Ayler during the last months of his life. William Parker was usually also involved in this work. As Milford does not like travelling, I was forced to do without him. About two years ago providence brought me together with the Chicago drummer Hamid Drake, who gained renown here in Europe through his work with Don Cherry and Jim Pepper. I knew at once that he was the drummer I needed for the proposed quartet. Toshinori Kondo, who I had got to know better when working with the März-Combo, was the obvious choice for trumpeter. William Parker, double-bass, Cecil Taylor's long-standing comrade-in-arms - and also mine for about the last 10 years - was predestined for the part through his work with Milford Graves alone. In addition to all this public interest in Albert Ayler has increased in the past few years, and so we decided to risk the venture.

Translation: Isabel Seeberg & Paul Lytton

zurück / back