Peter Brotzmann has led a number of internationally renowned large ensembles since the late 1960s. The latest, called the Chicago Tentet, is one of the best. It was first organized by Brotzmann with the assistance of writer/presenter John Corbett in January, 1997 as an idea for a one-time octet performance that included Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang (drums), Kent Kessler (bass) and Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello), Ken Vandermark and Mars Williams (reeds), and Jeb Bishop (trombone). The first concert was extremely strong and warranted making the group an ongoing concern. In September of that same year the band was expanded to include Mats Gustafsson (reeds) and Joe McPhee (brass) as permanent members for more work in Chicago [there have also been guest appearances by William Parker (bass), Toshinori Kondo (trumpet/electronics), and Roy Campbell (trumpet) during the bands tenure] all in all the ensemble is a veritable who's who of the contemporary improvising scenes cutting edge.
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 album Nipples was recorded in 1969 with many of the Machine Gun musicians including drummer Han Bennink, pianist Fred Van Hove and tenor saxophonist Evan Parker, plus British free-improv guitarist Derek Bailey. The second set of takes from these sessions, appropriately called More Nipples, is more raucous. Fuck De Boere (Dedicated to Johnny Dyani) is a live album of free sessions from these early years, containing two long improvisations, a 1968 recording of "Machine Gun" live (earlier than the studio version) and a longer jam from 1970.
The logistical difficulties of touring with an octet resulted in Brötzmann eventually slimming the group to a trio with Han Bennink and Fred Van Hove. Bennink was also partner in Schwarzwaldfahrt an album of duets recorded outside in the Black Forest in 1977 with Brötzmann's sax and Bennink drumming on trees and other objects found in the woods.
Larger groups were put together again later, for example in 1981 Brötzmann made a radio broadcast with Frank Wright and Willem Breuker (saxes), Toshinori Kondo (trumpet), Hannes Bauer and Alan Tomlinson (trombones), Alexander von Schlippenbach (piano), Louis Moholo (drums), Harry Miller (bass). This was released as the album Alarm.