Tag Archives: Peter Brotzmann

FMP Records’ Free Jazz Legacy is Alive and Well at Destination: OUT

Destination Out

When Jeff Golick and Jeff Jackson started the blog destination: OUT in the mid ’00s, they hoped to show that “free jazz” doesn’t automatically mean “difficult.” “We felt that the most accessible and exciting free jazz albums were unfortunately some of the least known,” says Jackson. “For a lot of music genres that’s not true; the most popular, easy-to-find records tend to be good gateways. But sometimes a free jazz album printed in a run of 200 is more likely to turn you into a fan than something on Impulse or Blue Note.”

After almost eight years of posting free jazz gems, Golick and Jackson stopped updating their blog in 2014, concentrating on their companion radio show on New Jersey’s WFMU. But they wanted to continue their mission to spread free jazz, so they started a Destination: OUT digital reissue page on Bandcamp. The labels they approached at first showed little interest, but then a huge opportunity emerged.

“We randomly sent a query to Jost Gebers at [German label] FMP, not expecting he would agree,” recalls Jackson. “He immediately did and was enthusiastic. We were bowled over by it.” With good reason: FMP, aka Free Music Production, is one of the most iconic and vital imprints in the history of free jazz and improv. Beginning in the late 1960s, FMP released reams of pioneering records by titans including pianist Cecil Taylor and saxophonists Peter Brötzmann, Evan Parker, and Steve Lacy.

“It’s sort of the Blue Note of European free improv,” says Jackson. Golick agrees: “If you took FMP away, the whole history of that music would be practically empty.” “And they’re the label that encouraged cross pollination between American jazz musicians and European free improvisers,” adds Jackson, citing Tangens as an example, a collaboration between American horn player Sam Rivers and German pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach. “They did a great job of bringing that idea to a wider audience.”

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Strange and Perfect Connections: Mats Gustafsson at 50

Mats Gustafsson
Mats Gustafsson. Photo by Micke Keysendahl.

Saxophonist Mats Gustafsson is still somewhat embarrassed that a three-day festival—held at the Vienna club Porgy & Bess in October 2014—was essentially organized to celebrate his 50th birthday. The venue sponsors a few artist-in-residency projects each year, and it invited the Swedish native—who lives in Nickelsdorff, Austria—to participate. He mentioned that his birthday was nearing and that, perhaps, the residency could be connected to the occasion. “And then I immediately regretted it,” he jokes. “But I’m very happy it was done.”

Earlier this year, more than four hours of highlights from that extravaganza, which featured performances by the saxophonist with many notable collaborators, was released as a box set by Trost Records: MG50 Peace & Fire. It’s a spectacular collection of gritty, high-energy free improvisation jazz and experimental music from one of the most prolific and passionate figures in cutting-edge sounds of the last three decades. “It was still a focus on me, and I feel a bit uncomfortable when I look at the box sometimes,” he says. “But I have friends who convinced me it was a good thing to do.”

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