**Edition of 200 copies. This is the sixth release in BeJazz reissue series of long-lost classics from the legendary vaults of FMP Records, presented in restored original packaging and newly remastered for optimal sound** In the context of European free improvised music, it would be hard to find a name that towers to the heights of Peter Brötzmann. Trained as a visual artist, the saxophonist turned toward music during the second half of 1960s, and quickly became a focussed, creative lens for the social and political upheaval that was sweeping Europe, shooting from the gate with some of the most furious and emotive recordings in the history of jazz - For Adolphe Sax, Machine Gun, Nipples, Balls, etc. - so potent that, more than 50 years later, they still feel like a brick to the head.
Still as active as ever, Brötzmann remains one of the great spirits of collaboration in the field of free improvisation. Always keen to share the stage and billing, he is equally a master of conversation, as ready to interject as he is to step back and listen. At no point during his long career has Brötzmann failed the call to challenge himself and others, and grow and change as an artist. But, as is often the case, attention often focuses on his early groundbreaking gestures from the 60s and 70s, and those emerging now, while the link between - just as vibrant and thrilling - gets overlooked. Be! Jazz’s reissuing of his 1989 LP with Jay Oliver, Willi Kellers, and Manfred Schoof, In a State of Undress, takes incredibly important steps toward bringing his seminal efforts from the 80s and 90s back into the larger consciousness.
Free jazz from the 80s and 90s tends to get the short end of the stick, and not without reason. It was an era during which many of the remaining lights of the 60s and 70s scenes veered down more conservative paths, sometimes flirting with outright traditionalism. But there are plenty of exception that tell another tale of underground, radial activity continuing the change, and In a State of Undress is one such case. Recorded with the American expatriated bassist, Jay Oliver, who also did exceptional work with Jemeel Moondoc, Jimmy Lyons, Rüdiger Carl, and others, regular Brötzmann collaborator, the drummer Willi Kellers, and the legendary Manfred Schoof, on Trumpet, Flugelhorn, the album almost feels like a critique of the moment unfolding in real time, Schoof weaving lines that flirt with straight ahead jazz, before being attacked by Brötzmann’s horn, and Oliver and Kellers’s furious and intricate patterns of texture and rhythm.
Stunningly rich, engaging, and challenging at every turn, In a State of Undress, emerging in the capable hands of Be! Jazz, is nothing short of a revelation. A crucial link between Brötzmann’s furious beginning, and the fire we all know him to carry today. Absolutely essential and mind-blowing. Not to be missed.