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Peter Brötzmann & Heather Leigh
Ars Nova Workshop is honored to present the return of saxophonist Peter Brötzmann and pedal steel guitarist Heather Leigh.
Peter Brötzmann (b. 1941) has been a polarizing figure in global free jazz since the late 1960s. A painter by trade, Brötzmann applied lessons learned from Sidney Bechet, the proverbial American holy trinity — Coltrane, Sanders, Ayler — and Fluxus (he was a card-carrying member) to a primordial tenor sax caterwaul that even Bill Clinton couldn’t deny. Nate Chinen writes, “Mr. Brötzmann is famous for a hardheaded, fulminating style devoid of any trace of bathos. Trying to describe it sends you grasping for overheated metaphors: blowtorches, hellfires, certain Congressional libidos.”
His 1968 landmark Machine Gun LP essentially documented the formation of European free improvisation with an octet comprised of Brötzmann, Evan Parker, Peter Kowald, Han Bennink, Fred Van Hove, Sven-Åke Johansson, Buschi Niebergall, and Willem Breuker. Other major group collaborations include the blistering noise-jazz unit Last Exit (featuring Bill Laswell, Sonny Sharrock, and Ronald Shannon Jackson), the Ayler-indebted Die Like a Dog (with William Parker, Hamid Drake and Toshinori Kondo), and the Chicago- and Scandinavian-based Tentet featuring Ken Vandermark. At 75, Brötzmann maintains a prolific tour schedule with a variety of playing partners from around the globe.
Heather Leigh is a Houston-bred coal miner’s daughter who lives and works in Glasgow. Equally informed by her Appalachian roots, Albert Ayler, and Harry Pussy, Leigh’s approach to the pedal steel guitar could be interpreted as a fractured survey of American culture’s deeply troubled heritage. Dusted Magazine writes, “All notions of the pedal steel’s laid-back, country harmony are shattered as Leigh extols jagged notes and blocks of electric noise that seem to rail against rock, jazz and other notions of freedom music.” Leigh’s collaborations with Charalambides, Chris Corsano, Jandek, Thurston Moore, and Smegma illuminate connections and eliminate distinctions between noise rock, free jazz, and what Arthur Magazine dubbed “New Weird America” in the mid-oughts.
Ars Nova Workshop is a Philadelphia nonprofit jazz and experimental music presenting organization. ANW informs, inspires, and challenges listeners to elevate the role of jazz, improvisation, and experimental music in contemporary culture. ANW events provide a forum for discourse, emergent trends in contemporary music, and unique forms of cultural exchange, while nurturing a diverse community for innovative music.