CHAT WITH PETER BRÖTZMANN
JUNG: Your association with the late Peter Kowald has been well documented.
PETER BRÖTZMANN: Yeah, it is always hard to talk about dead people.
Kowald, I met him when he was still going to school and he was about seventeen
years old. I was three years older, I think, and started to study here
in Wuppertal. At that time, he was playing tuba and I convinced him to
change to double bass. So we worked the first ten years. We worked together
and he was learning very fast and very good because at that time, nobody
wanted to listen to what we had in mind. Everybody was laughing about
it. So he was a very good partner and a very good comrade to have. I think
that was, for both us, the most important time and how he developed his
music in the later years, everybody knows, that he was one of the most
important, whatever that means. But I think he was able to give back all
he had learned in all those decades, he was able to give that, to hand
that knowledge over to younger musicians. That was one of his very good
FJ: The infamy referencing European free jazz is the insignificance of
PETER BRÖTZMANN: American musicians, from the very beginning, were
very important for me. At the time I started to develop my own style,
for example, guys like Steve Lacy, who was touring a lot in Germany around
those years, or Don Cherry, he was passing by from the south of Sweden,
where he was living with his wife and family at the time, to all the German
radio stations. He was passing by my place and stayed a couple of nights.
Especially the two guys I mentioned besides Carla Bley, they were very
important people for me and my connections to all the American guys started
very early, in the middle of the Sixties. I met Andrew Cyrille, with whom
I worked with in the later years quite often. I met him when he was a
very young man working with Cecil in Paris. Jimmy Lyons was in the band
and Alan Silva. So my connections to the Americans were always very strong,
but of course, living here in Europe, you have to look around and try
to find guys who you like and I was happy and lucky about my connections
with the Dutch, Belgium - Han Bennink especially and Fred Van Hove, Willem
Breuker too, and Misha Mengelberg. Kowald, to come back to him, he was
more responsible for the English section. When I went to Holland, he went
to England to the guys from the Little Theater Club, John Stevens, young
Evan, and Rutherford. At that time, we had the chance because the German
radio stations, at that time, were very open to new music. They had a
little budget and so we were able to invite all our friends from Holland,
from England, from Scandinavia, down to Germany. It was very, very good
and a very important exchange of ideas that we all had the chance to work
together. It is really a shame that it is not happening nowadays anymore.
Fred Jung is the Editor-In-Chief and is Wang Chunging tonight. Comments?