Peter Brotzmann: Machine Gun
Peter Brotzmann (tenor sax, baritone sax)
The Complete Machine Gun Sessions (Atavistic 262)
Fred Van Hove (piano), Peter Kowald (bass), Buschi Niebergall (bass), Han Bennik (drums), Sven-Ake Johansson (drums).
Recorded: Bremen, Germany, May 1968
Rating: 75/100 (learn more)
Machine Gun is the most frightening album in jazz. Hands down. It was in 1968, and it still is today. Only a few other albums even come close – there’s the unbearable tension of John Coltrane’s “Ascension,” the brute force of John Zorn’s Spy vs. Spy and of course six or seven other Brotzmann records. But this one shows no mercy at all. It doesn’t swing. There’s no melody. There’s no rhythm. It’s pure emotion – Peter Brotzmann blowing the hell out of his horn, two drummers bashing the skins and cymbals senseless, Fred Van Hove beating the life out of the piano. It’s a 15-minute expression of frustration and anger. Is it an antiwar statement? It must be, but it’s hard to know for certain. What we do know is that it scares the bejesus out of us, every time.
Reviewer: Steve Greenlee