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Warsaw. Tribute To Peter Brötzmann in Pardon, To Tu

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15 musicians will come to Warsaw from different parts of the world to play 21 concerts in various configurations during three club evenings. Documentary film screenings, discussions and an exhibition are also planned. And all this will constitute a unique tribute to one artist – Peter Brötzmann.

For the founders of the Warsaw club Pardon, To Tu, he was a fundamental figure. At first, his invitation was in the sphere of ambition, or maybe even dreams. But the ones that were fulfilled, because after several years of the club's existence, they succeeded – in 2013. The saxophonist stood on a modest stage in the club's first headquarters at Grzybowski Square. The line-up with Polish musicians was mixed and experimental, and he met some of them for the first time in his life. He played like he usually does – powerfully and uncompromisingly.

The importance of what happened was emphasized by a poster that, until the premises were demolished, hung in its central point, in a place of honor (in its current location you will find it on the mezzanine). This was the visible stamp of quality placed by the master on the files of a still quite young concert venue. But then something less tangible and equally important was born – personal relationships.

“He opened many doors for us”

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– He opened many doors for us because he cooperated with dozens of musicians, but above all, Peter trusted us. He gave a “blessing” that allowed us to do bigger concerts. He taught us many things, although he was never patronizing – recalls Magda Dudek, who, together with Daniel Radtke, created Pardon, To Tu.

After this event, the compassionate team came up with the idea of ​​organizing Brötzmann's 75th birthday, which took the form of a five-day residency. Each evening there were three sets with the participation of the main character and invited guests. Hours of exhausting gaming. But he didn't waste his time either.

– We walked a lot around Warsaw, and it is impossible to escape from certain topics. He never did that. He was very open to talking about World War II, says Dudek. Opposition to the war, denial of his father's “heritage” – as a German soldier, but also as a violent parent – was a formative experience for young Peter. Pushing on the ideological level towards the left, and on the musical level – free jazz. All this was released in the album “Machine Gun”, released in the symbolic, culturally breakthrough year of 1968. Today, this album is a classic on the shelf of the most radical variety of jazz, but also a point of reference, still a living inspiration. Because no one screamed on the saxophone as piercingly as he did.

A full farewell

He returned to Warsaw many times and was not offended when he unexpectedly had to come on as a substitute. – The trio Fire! was supposed to play at the end of the season at the temporary venue at the Nowy Teatr, but its leader Mats Gustafsson had health problems and had to cancel the performance three days before. Who can replace Mats Gustaffson when people have already bought tickets to a certain type of music? We called Peter to see if he could help, he replied: “sure, just get a good drummer.” We chose Steve Noble, whom we knew well, although they had a long break in cooperation, my interlocutor recalls.

The history of the Warsaw club and the German saxophonist intertwined in a planned and sometimes spontaneous way until last year. – He had been suffering from lung disease for many years. Even the day before his arrival, he was wondering whether he would have to cancel it. However, he came. We thought he would rest in the hotel, but in the evening he came to Pardon and we stayed until four in the morning. He wanted to feel the atmosphere, talk to us and his musicians, maybe he sensed that he would have few such opportunities in his life? – Magda Dudek wonders.

– On the first day he gave more space to his team, he felt how much he could give. On the second day he played at full speed. During the next two shows at Cafe Oto in London it was absolute fire. Unfortunately, when the adrenaline wore off, he was taken to hospital, from which he was released, but he never played again – he adds.

Shortly after performing in his two beloved clubs, Peter Brötzmann died.

21 unique concerts

At the end of May, at Pardon, To Tu, the musician's fans, friends and collaborators will meet to pay tribute to him.

“Wanting to express gratitude for his many years of support, over the last few months, together with the curators of this tribute – saxophonist Mats Gustafsson and the Chicago promoter, publisher and one of the initiators of the famous “Chicago Tentet” John Corbett – we have been working to ensure that they could meet at the end of May at on our stage, musicians with whom Peter Brötzmann has collaborated over the last decades and for whom he was an extraordinary inspiration,” announce the event organizers. And they list the invitees: Caspar Brötzmann, Hamid Drake, Jan St. Werner, Jason Adasiewicz, Joe McPhee, Keiji Haino, Marino Pliakas, Mats Gustafsson, Mette Rasmussen, Michael Wertmüller, Paal Nilssen-Love, Per Åke Holmlander, Rob Mazurek, Stephen O`Malley, Virginia Genta.

Each evening will begin with a screening of a documentary about an artist (a different one every day). Then the above-mentioned curator John Corbett will talk to one of the musicians. The concert part will consist of seven sets, during which musicians will perform in various configurations (21 micro-concerts in total). The exhibition “Brötzmann, In My Focus”, authored by the renowned Slavic photographer Žiga Koritnik, will last until the end of June.

3 Nights In Tribute To Peter Brötzmann, May 27-29, at 19, Pardon, To Tu club

Author:Piotr Bakalarski

Main photo source: Ziga Koritnik, mat. organizer

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