* Edition of 300 * It took a while before Fred Van Hove and Peter Brötzmann reached their spot on the stage of the Summer Bummer Festival in 2019. This was a highly anticipated concert of two legendary musicians that wiped the floor with just about any concept of jazz and improvised music when they and their peers came to prominence in the second half of the sixties. While the audience started applauding and cheering all the other participating artists of the festival – amongst them good folk like Angel Bat Dawid, Steve Noble, Thurston Moore, Paal Nilssen-Love, Frank Rosaly, Jeb Bishop, Signe Emmeluth, Adam Cadell … – where rushing in hoping to secure a good seat for this exceptional concert.
When reaching center stage Van Hove stopped and looked at the audience, amused and amazed at so many enthusiastic people while Brötzmann prepared his horns and waited, stoically. You could feel the tension building. Several more minutes passed before Van Hove decided to slowly continue to the piano at the far end of the stage. And then, just when everyone in the audience thought he definitely lost it on the way over, bam… In a split second Van Hove sat down, hit the piano keys with brute force diving into an impressive cluster of notes front to front with Brötzmann’s powerful trademark tenor skronk, an introduction that instantly made the seated audience rock backwards in sync, as if an emotional tidal wave just hit them full on, leaving some of them ecstatic and some of them in tears. That’s what a concert can do to a person when almost 60 years of pioneering adventurous music is brilliantly compressed into 40 minutes of sheer musical bliss by two of it’s central figures.