Brötzmann looks back at the Machine Gun session

Fifty years after the Jazz world was shocked by the release of German tenor saxophonist Peter Brötznann’s epoch LP Machine Gun, the German reedist tells downbeat’s Andrew Jones about the session’s origins and intent. Unlike American players such as saxophonist Albert Ayler, who believed that love would heal the world, European musicians of the time were angry and wanted to get rid of the old structures, the saxophonist says. Since some of the members of the Octet – which included future major players like the UK tenor saxophonist Evan Parker, Dutch drummer Han Bennink and saxophonist Willem Breuker and German bassist Peter Kowald – weren’t that familiar with each other’s work, Brötzmann composed what he terms “a Charles Ives thing: solo, solo background, solo”  to have “the most freedom possible, but to give some structure to hold on to” for the recording date.  As for the LP title, it came from trumpeter Don Cherry’s description of Brötzmann’s ferocious playing.