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Anyone who has given any amount of attention to abrasive and challenging free improvisation/experimental jazz/noise improv/whatever music over the last forty odd years would be hard pressed not to know the name of saxophonist Peter Brotzmann, whose very particular sonic vocabulary and proclivity to bring a “cathartic release” approach to his music and his improvising have made him not only one of the most recognized European jazz musicians of all time, but also somewhat of an iconoclastic figure of experimental music in general. Considerably less well known, though equally as iconic of a musician is guitarist Sonny Sharrock, who along with James “Blood” Ulmer, is recognized as a musician whose uncharacteristic approach to the guitar innovated the sonic and contextual possibilities of the instrument.

Sharrock was drawn to music because of John Coltrane’s playing on the Miles Davis’s Kind Of Blue, and wanted to be a horn player, though couldn’t because of asthma problems in his youth, thus he viewed himself as a weird horn player than a guitar player, and it is partly this attitude that makes this newly released duo collaboration between himself and Brötzmann a very cohesive record of improvised music. Granted, it could also be because Brötzmann and Sharrock had a long history playing together in the band Last Exit from the mid 1980s through the early 90s, a quartet that also included bassist Bill Laswell and drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson, and had a recurring playing situation through which to develop a communicative language.

Even though one might expect this record to sound like Last Exit without the drummer and bassist, the music on Whatthefuckdoyouwant creates no expectations for the functional or sonic roles that any kind of “rhythm section” could and would possibly provide. Thus, this music, recorded in 1987 at the height of Last Exit’s activity is indicative of the level of synergy achieved by arriving at a seasoned understanding between two improvisers well accustomed to each other’s playing. The tracks, simply titled ‘Whatthefuckdoyouwant 1-11,’ all transition seamlessly into one another, implying that this record was cut from a long session of continuous improvisation, and though this music is very diverse in terms of intentionality and points of stylistic reference, there is a very common quality that unites these improvisations in that Brötzmann and Sharrock occupy each other’s sonic and conceptual space at all times. A must grip for Brötzmann/Sharrock or Last Exit fans, free jazz fans, and all around heads alike.

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