Fmp in Retrospect - Im Ruckblick - Ltd Edition
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Who could have imagined back in 1969 that a German label religiously dedicated to uncompromising free-jazz would outlast the Berlin Wall? Such is the ongoing tenacity of Free Music Production, and its story is told in this intriguing 12-disc box set, compiled with a lavish book of photos and perceptive essays by such musicians as saxophonist Ken Vandermark and author Felix Klopotek. The company has been a true labor of love (or fanaticism) for Jost Gebers, who maintained a day job as a youth counselor until a few years ago. He formed FMP in late-’60s Berlin to provide a European response to the intense energy that Albert Ayler and Cecil Taylor brought to jazz (Taylor would perform with FMP stalwarts in Berlin in 1988). Saxophonist Peter Brötzmann became closely identified with FMP since its beginnings, and while he may be best known for his full-throttled attack (he titled a crucial early album Machine Gun), his discs on this set reaffirm that his music is much more complex and historically minded, particularly on his 1976 solo recording (Woke In Hosen) and in his mid-’90s quartet Die Like A Dog with trumpeter Toshinori Kondo, bassist William Parker and percussionist Hamid Drake. As FMP advocated for individualistic musicians, a bunch of the collected recordings here are solos: Along with Brötzmann, saxophonist Steve Lacy, pianist Fred Van Hove and bassist Peter Kowald challenge their instruments, and, undoubtedly, many listeners, sans accompaniment. The set also includes tracks by pianist Alex Von Schlippenbach’s quartet from the mid-’70s, which featured Evan Parker’s unmistakable soprano circular breathing, and a bracing 1975 performance by the Globe Unity Orchestra.