Free Jazz verses Forced Comedy

A minor brouhaha in a beer mug occurred last month when American late night TV host Jimmy Fallon achieved some cheap laughs by playing an excerpt from German tenor saxophonist Peter Brötzmann’s Nipples album. According to Stereogum’s Peter Helman, the sniggering Fallon, who seemed never to have heard Free Jazz before, was excited as a child repeating the 52-year-old album’s title, then after playing a brief section, commented that it sounded like a guitar shop  on a busy Saturday. The audience guffawed. What was Brötzmann’s response? “The world is full of ignorants and stupidos, one more or less, who cares,” he said. “This little snippet I got from friends all over the world and my reaction was laughter. The only thing that annoys me a bit is that this 1969-made piece is a milestone in at least European free music history.” So much for culture on American TV.