STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Peter Brotzmann, William Parker and Hamid Drake


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Today, we focus our video lens on the trio of saxophonist Peter Brötzmann, bassist William Parker and percussionist Hamid Drake, who are coming to St. Louis to perform in a concert at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 4 at the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center as part of LNAC's 20th anniversary celebration.

Bound by a web of musical associations stretching back more than 20 years, they first recorded and toured together under the name Die Like A Dog, and in the ensuing years have come to be known as something of a free-jazz all-star band. StLJN covered some of Brötzmann's back story in a Saturday video post before his first St. Louis appearance back in June 2009 at LNAC, while Parker was the subject of a similar post last October when he brought his quintet here to play a New Music Circle-sponsored concert at Mad Art Gallery.

That band also included Drake, and you can see him in several of the videos in the Parker post. The longtime Chicagoan has been a player on the international jazz and creative music scene since the late 1970s, leading his own groups and collaborating with a wide variety of musicians.

In addition to many recordings and tours with Brötzmann and Parker, both individually and together, Drake had a long musical association with saxophonist Fred Anderson, who drew him into Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, and also has worked with Don Cherry, Herbie Hancock, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, David Murray and Reggie Workman. Drake also has played reggae and world music throughout his career, and in fact made his very first recording as a member of Foday Musa Suso’s Mandingo Griot Society.

While there's not a whole lot of footage online of Drake, Brötzmann and Parker together, and the usual caveats about previews being of somewhat limited use when dealing with totally improvised music certainly apply, today's selection of clips at least should provide some idea of what to expect when they play at LNAC.

First up is a video showing Brötzmann, Parker and Drake together at a gig on November 28, 2004 at the Teatro Fondamenta Nuove in Venice, Italy. Down below the jump, we go back almost a full decade for a full set featuring Brötzmann, Parker, Drake and trumpeter Toshinori Kondo recorded in 1995 at Jazzfest Berlin.

Below that are several excerpts from more recent duo performances by Brötzmann and Drake. The first three were recorded at three different stops of their spring 2010 tour, on April 18 at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center in NYC; April 23 at the Hideout in Chicago; and April 28 at the Victory Grill in Austin, TX. The fourth is from a show in April 2012 for the Europajazz Festival at La Fonderie in Le Mans, France.

The last two videos serve to provide a bit more background, both for these specific performers and for the musical world in which they operate. The seventh clip is an interview with Brötzmann recorded in 2013 before his performance at the Ljubljana Jazz Festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

And for some broader context, check out the final video of Free The Jazz, a full-length, Hungarian-produced documentary in English directed by Czabán György that includes interviews and music from Brötzmann, Ken Vandermark, Mats Gustafsson, Joe McPhee, Matthew Shipp and many others.

You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
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