Outspan No 1 / Outspan No 2
Since launching in the early 2010s, the Trost subsidiary Cien Fuegos, has done remarkable work reissuing long out of print LPs from the legendary FMP catalog. Running like a spine through it all is the unmistakable work of the late, great German saxophonist Peter Brötzmann, more often than not encountering him - in one form or another - and various combinations - collaborating with Han Bennink, Albert Mangelsdorff, and Fred Van Hove, three of his most enduring creative relationships. Cien Fuegos’ latest dive into the FMP catalog - “Outspan No 1” and “Outspan No 2” - comprises two stunning LPs by two configurations (a quartet of Brötzmann, Bennink, Mangelsdorff, and Van Hove on the former and a trio of Brötzmann, Van Hove and Bennink on the latter) of these truly remarkable players. Capturing them live, over three dates in the Spring of 1974, each is a towering artefact of European free jazz at the height of the movement's most crucial wave, that’s been out of print for nearly 50 years. Cien Fuegos has done it again, bringing these crucial sounds back to our ears.
2023 has been a difficult year, witnessing the losses of numerous crucial voices from the avant-garde, but few were as significant to the passing of Peter Brötzmann in June. From his emergence onto the scene during the late 1960s, he remained a driving force within German, European, and global scenes of free improvised music. Often characterized by his furious and aggressive sound - pitch perfect for the countercultural movement into which he first emerged - there was always considerably more to the saxophonist’s practice than might first meet the eye. Brötzmann was a remarkable careful listener and sensitive player, who was always willing to make space for those with whom he worked, as well as among the most willing of his generation to engage in a profound diversity of collaborations.
Better than most, Brötzmann understood free improvisation and free jazz as a revolutionary form of creativity that could offer a vision of how human beings might better interact in day-to-day life; open, conversant, and rooted in conversation. Within all hard blown fire that emerged from his horn, there was an optimistic collectivism that never waned from the beginning to his final days.
While Brötzmann was always willing to collaborate across unexpected creative boundaries and work with new players, young and old, there were a number of artists with whom he developed remarkable and enduring creative relationships that defined his early work and lasted for decades. Most notable among these were the drummer Han Bennink, the trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff, and the pianist Fred Van Hove, with whom Brötzmann worked in a near countless number of configurations and bands over the years, be it duo, trio, quartet, or larger ensembles like Globe Unity Orchestra, etc. In the case of the trio of Brötzmann, Van Hove and Bennink, there are numerous recordings, but as quartet with Mangelsdorff there are considerably fewer, most notably the legendary triple suite on FMP from 1971, “Couscouss de la Mauresque”, “The End”, and “Elements’. For this reason alone, to encounter the band again - which doesn’t even begin to account for its remarkable sounds, 1975’s “Outspan No 1” is a true treasure.
Peter Brötzmann, Han Bennink, Albert Mangelsdorff, Fred Van Hove "Outspan No 1" (LP, 1974)
Recorded live by Jürgen Lindenau on April 14th and 15th, 1974 during the Workshop Freie Musik at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, with Peter Brötzmann on alto and baritone saxophone, clarinet; Albert Mangelsdorff on trombone); Fred Van Hove on piano; and Han Bennink on drums, a homemade clarinet and junk, and voice, “Outspan No 1” - originally issued by FMP the following year, remains, nearly 50 years on, one of the great documents of the enduring collaborations between these four titans of European free jazz and improvisation. Featuring four compositions - the longer form pieces, “Serieuze Serie” and “Outspan 1”, bookending the shorter “Boogie für Fred” and “Der Spaziergang”, it’s hard to think of a better document of the range and power possessed by each, stretching from hard blown explosive movement of pure fire to more intricately woven interplays of texture and tonality that unfurl and retract with a profound sense of intuition that makes them nearly impossible to anticipate.
Marked by a profound sense of abstraction, unparalleled creative communication - revealing each of the players in focused conversation with the others - and towering artists on spontaneous compositional and technical terms, “Outspan No 1” is a truly astounding piece of work. It’s hard to understand how it’s remained, through the CD era and beyond, out of print for as long as it has. Glorious, sublime - like a kick to the gut combined with a thousand cuts - this beautiful, first ever vinyl reissue from Cien Fuegos - beautifully pressed, remastered, and produced in a sleeve perfectly reproducing its original Peter Brötzmann artwork and design - is absolutely essential for any fan of FMP and the work of Brötzmann, Van Hove, Bennink, and Mangelsdorff. It’s as good as European free jazz gets.
Peter Brötzmann, Han Bennink, Fred Van Hove "Outspan No 2" (LP, 1974)
Recorded live by Jost Gebers in the FMP Mobile Recording Unit on May 4th, 1974 at the Ost-West-Festival in Nürnberg - about a month after its counterpart “Outspan No 1” - “Outspan No 2” is one of the great treasure-troves of musical exploration by the longstanding trio of Peter Brötzmann, Han Bennink, and Fred Van Hove. Balancing a remarkable sense of playfulness with furious energy and towering musicianship, the album’s four compositions - the long-form “Ende mit Brötzophon” and the medium length “Schöner Geht's Nimmer” (which harvests its core melody from the Rolling Stones), “Outspan 2”, and “Das Ist Doch Einfach Genug” - are nothing short of a darling display of artistry, the likes of which can only spring from musicians, like these, who have played together so much that they’ve cultivated an almost telepathic sense of understanding of where one or all might take them next, while never failing to throw a curveball into the mix.
Like “Outspan 1”, “Outspan 2” is profoundly abstract in its makeup and nearly impossible to anticipate in its progressions, tracing across a vast range of moods, expression, and methods of attack, ranging from hard blown free jazz fire, to the explicitly melodic, and sweeping passages of intricately woven interplays of texture and tonality that unfurl and retract with a profound sense of intuition. It’s a true marvel from the first sounding to the last, that like its predecessor remained, through the CD era and beyond, out of print and difficult to find for nearly 50 years. We highly recommend picking up the pair.
This beautiful, first ever vinyl reissue from Cien Fuegos - beautifully pressed, remastered, and produced in a sleeve perfectly reproducing its original Peter Brötzmann artwork and design - is absolutely essential for any fan of FMP and the work of Brötzmann, Van Hove, and Bennink, three of the greatest that the European scene has ever known!