Broetzmann Plus w/Full Blast, Underground Improvisation at Akademie der Künste, Berlin

For the 50th anniversary of the founding of the, at the time, revolutionary  artist owned record label Free Music Production, the Akademie der Künste, Berlin, showed a large exhibition related to FMP, the free jazz movement and the development of a tolerated jazz scene in east Germany. The occasion, called Underground and Improvisation also featured a series of discussion panels, talks and concerts, at its center featuring a two day festival like event, called Brötzmann Plus.

A series of concerts with musicians that were part of  FMP from the start and some younger talents that show the ongoing modernization of the free music and improvised jazz movement. Find here some impressions of Peter Brötzmann presenting his  longtime and current trio Full Blast, featuring Michael Wertmüller and Marino Pliakas, as well as guests Heather Leigh and Keiji Haino.

Wertmueller & Mahmoud

April 27, 2017.

A mixed, all ages audience, many respectfully in suits, at the Liebermann House, that touches Brandenburger Tor at its north side.  A pretty impressive classicist building that used to host painter Max Liebermann‘s studio under the roof. Before its destruction in World War 2. Before Liebermann had to leave Germany for his jewish roots. And before its reconstruction after the fall of the wall.

Now home to Stiftung Brandenburger Tor, a foundation that, with its rather conservatively curated exhibitions, does not necessarily lead you to expect that the lively meeting point of a pre-war art scene of the 1920s would revive here. But the foundation is starting something different today. And so you find yourself at the opening of  a new series of forward looking exhibitions of fine art.

Stiftung Brandenburger Tor has invited Daniel Richter to completely freely curate his own exhibit. Richter decides to dedicate the show, alongside of some of of his own rarely shown work, to the hardly known, almost forgotten, Jack Bilbo. And he invites Michael Wertmüller and Thomas Mahmoud to perform – a first live presentation of their work now called Higgs.

In its expressively intense appearance, complex, yet danceable beats, voice and electronic bass in the foreground, an incredible amount of filigrane details woven into the composition, composed, improvised, powerful but emotionally touching, Higgs is not a band nor a sound project. It is a piece of art. A sculpture expressed in instrumental intensity and human energy, channeled through a minimal installation of acoustic and electronic musical equipment.

Unsurprisingly the project was born with a Wertmüller composition commisioned by Gemany’s well known painter Albert Oehlen and the Museum of Art, Cleveland, who presented the piece as part of an Oehlen installment and individual exhibition for their  100th anniversary in 2016. The audio recording has been printed on 7″ vinyl as part of the exhibition catalogue, that is stll available here.

So far my contribution to Higgs has been the studio recording of Sonar Quartett’s  strings and Thomas Mahmoud’s vocals for the Oehlen exhibition in Cleveland as well as the live mixing for them. More plans for a close cooperation are currently growing.

Higgs has been invited to perform at the Hebbel am Ufer Theatre on Sunday October 8, 2017, in a double bill with Zonal (aka Kevin Martin and Justin Broadrick).