In the 1980s, Brötzmann flirted with heavy metal and noise rock, including a stint in Last Exit and subsequent recordings with Last Exit's bass guitarist and producer Bill Laswell.
Brötzmann has remained active, touring and recording regularly. He has released over fifty albums as a bandleader, and has appeared on dozens more. His "Die Like A Dog Quartet" (with Toshinori Kondo, William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake) is loosely inspired by saxophonist Albert Ayler, a prime influence on Brötzmann's music. Since 1997 he has toured and recorded regularly with the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet (initially an Octet) which he disbanded after an ensemble performance November 11, 2012 in Strasbourg, France.
Brötzmann has also recorded or performed with musicians including Cecil Taylor, Keiji Haino, Willem van Manen, Mats Gustafsson, Ken Vandermark, Conny Bauer, Joe McPhee and Brötzmann's son, Caspar Brötzmann, a notable guitarist in his own right.
Brötzmann has an extensive portfolio, and has appeared on well over 100 albums. Listed below is his discography, arranged by albums which he has released under his name as a leader or as a solo effort, specifically named bands he has been in, collaborations with other artists with whom he has released albums under distinct monikers, and finally, albums on which he has performed as a sideman. Several of the collaborations were one-off live shows, yielding only a single album release, as seen below.
Peter Brotzmann Chicago Tentet - Europa Jazz du Mans 2004
Peter Brotzmann - saxophones
Ken Vandermark - saxophones
Joe Mac Phee - saxophones
Roland Ramanan - trompette
Toshinori Kondo - trompette
Joe Bishop - trombone
Fred Lomberg-Holm - violoncelle
Kent Kessler - contrebasse
Michael Zerang - batterie
Paal Nilssen-Love - batterie
The ensembles work has been documented on a series of recordings released by Okka Disk. These started with a three cd box set in 1998; followed by Stone/Water in 2000 (picked as one of the top ten albums of the year in the New York Times, Sunday, Dec. 17, 2000); and in May of 2002 the two volume set Short Visit To Nowhere and Broken English (recorded after their North American tour in the Summer of 2000) was added to the list. However, the main work of the Peter Brotzmann Chicago Tentet has been done in concert, on the road in both Europe and in North America over the last few years. Its second North American tour begins in June of 2002, and this new work will be documented by another recording in Chicago and will be followed by a series of festival performances in Europe.
It's clear that the difficult economics of running a large band hasn't prevented the group from continuing to work together since its first meeting in Winter of 1997. Through their effort they've been able to develop an ensemble sound and depth of communication hard to find in a band of any size or style currently playing on the contemporary music scene.