36th Vilnius Jazz Festival. 12-16 October, 2022

Peter Broetzmann’s Full Blast

Peter Broetzmann’s Full Blast (Switzerland/Germany):

Peter Broetzmann - reeds
Marino Pliakas - e.bass
Michael Wertmueller - drums

Every extreme music aficionado must hear this trio. Having cooperated for two decades, the three volcanic personalities keep shattering a mundane routine with their spontaneous ideas.

Full Blast has appeared in major avant-garde and free jazz festivals in almost all European countries, appeared in North and South America, and Asia.

Vilnius has been added to the schedule of the trio’s European tour of Austria, Italy, Germany, Spain and Portugal.

Peter Brötzmann’s nostalgically stinging reeds are the musical axis of Full Blast. He is among very few of the followers of the legendary Albert Ayler able to hypnotise the listeners, touching their emotional strings and weaving dramaturgically continuous narratives. Monologues of the free jazz pioneer are evocative of penetrating scream of the soul often akin to desperate speech.

Brötzmann graduated from the Art Academy of Wuppertal (Germany) where he studied painting. In the early ‘60s he became involved with the Fluxus movement. He has not abandoned his art training, however: he has designed most of his own album covers.

Brötzmann taught himself to play clarinet, and then saxophones. He is, perhaps, the only jazz musician to play the tárogató, a Hungarian woodwind instrument.

Brötzmann kicked off his musical career in 1959 playing in Dixieland, and in the mid ‘60s turned to free jazz. Among his first musical partnerships was that with double bassist Peter Kowald and drummer Sven-Åke Johansson. They both were featured on Brötzmann’s first recording.

Later he started collaborating with Michael Mantler and Carla Bley and became associated with Alexander Schlippenbach’s Alexander Schlippenbach’s Globe Unity Orchestra. In 1969, Brötzmann helped form FMP, a long-lived free jazz label and presenter that issues recordings and sponsors live performances. The circle of his associates kept widening to include pianist Fred van Hove, drummer Han Bennink, trumpeter Don Cherry, and trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff, among others. For some time he played (with guitarist Sonny Sharrock, bassist Bill Laswell and drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson) in avant-garde group Last Exit.

By the late ‘90s one would be hard-pressed to name a prominent free jazz musician with whom Brötzmann had not played. His discography amounts to several hundred albums, over 30 of them as a leader. Brötzmann recorded with Die Like A Dog Quartet (with Toshinori Kondo, William Parker and Hamid Drake), Sonore (with Ken Vandermark and Mats Gustafsson), as well as Full Blast.

One of the most influential European free jazz musicians Brötzmann keeps very intensive touring and recording schedule. Only in recent months he performed in South and North America, Finland and Poland with double bassist John Edwards and drummer Steve Noble, Defibrillator quartet, Sonore, vibraphonist Jason Adasievicz. After “Vilnius Jazz” he will tour in Europe with Konstrukt quintet, Joe McPhee, Kent Kessler and Michael Zerang, as well as his Chicago Tentet.

Marino Pliakas, Greek bassist and guitarist based in Switzerland, studied classical guitar at the Zurich Conservatory and history at the University of Zurich.

Pliakas keeps traversing between improvised and contemporary academic music. In 1998–2003, he was a president of the ISCM Zurich, thus his itineraries include jazz festivals and major contemporary music forums such as “Holland Festival” and “Gaudeamus” in Amsterdam, “Musica Viva” in Munich, “MaerzMusik” in Berlin and “Tage für Neue Musik” in Zurich. On jazz scene he often appears in Vancouver International Jazz Festival, “Moers”, and “Jazz Happening” in Tampere.

Pliakas is a member of Steamboat Switzerland, with which he recorded about ten CDs and LPs. He also collaborates with improvising string quartet Die Firma, Peter Evans, Mats Gustafsson, Keiji Haino, Sam Hayden, Kalle Kalima, Phil Minton, Ken Vandermark, Kenny Wollesen, Alan Wilkinsin and Oromo Yoshihide among many more contemporary jazz personalities.

Swiss drummer Michael Wertmüller is also associated with contemporary academic music. After graduating as a percussionist from Bern and Amsterdam conservatories, he studied composition at the Berlin University of the Arts. Today he is active as an improviser, performer and composer of contemporary academic music; teaches composition in universities in Berlin.

In 1989–2001, Wertmüller was a member of the Bern Symphony Orchestra. He has performed with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. The drummer regularly collaborates with Basel Sinfonietta and Steamboat Switzerland, is a member of Neue Musik Berlin, Ensemble Mosaik, Ensemble Courage (Germany) and Ensemble Nikel (Israel). In 1991–1999, he gave over 250 concerts in Europe, the US and Japan with Alboth!, the project for which he was awarded Bern Prize.

On improvised music scene he teams up with William Parker, Bill Laswell, Toshinori Kondo, Jim O’Rourke, Werner Lüdi, Holger Czukay and Otomo Yoshihide to name but a few. He also plays with Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet.

The drummer is praised for versatility; he is sensitive and disciplined, resourceful and endowed with excellent feel for form and time.

Wertmüller was an artist in residence in Los Angeles, Cairo and Sofia, with various formations appeared in Europe, North and South America, Africa and Asia.

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