Free Jazz

The Jazz Topic out there is great, just read that one through, As I’m more into the free-side-of Jazz, lets have a free-jazz discussion thread also, just focusing on more free-impro, free-jazz, experimental impro things! As the Basics are already covered in the Jazz thread lets go straight to deep end! Here is something for all of you freebies out there!

Lets start with a classic (even tho what i just said :sweat_smile: :

Coltranes last live (and recording of his lifetime) and what a blast! The poor audio quality makes it even better in my books, super impressive improvisation, and everyone is on fire! you can almost hear the approaching death in John Coltranes playing, super deep stuff.

Borbetomagus, might be one of the most harsh ones. Really scary sounds, deeply disturbing. I find this one to be like going to a sonic battle agains a monster from the deeps: pure bombardment of sounds!

here is a super interesting album by Tony Lugo and Mats Gustafsson, where they play duo (drums and sax) but take the audio through some machine learning software, that burst out electronics, as by playing with them! awesome almost transhumanistic approach to improvisation! a duo becomes a trio!

Here is some Great Finnish (traditional, if you can use that word in this context) free jazz, awesome vibes and playing, keeping it true to the genre!

Lets go one more for starters shall we!

Super awesome duo impro album by Bill Orcutt (Guitar) and Chris Corsano (drums + one of the best improvisers in drums right now in my books) This is a whole package, super awesome and vibrant improvisation, great mixing and sounds, and both of the players are best of the best!

Lets start with these ones! please feel free to link all your free jazz findings down bellow and lets have some conversations about improvisation and jazz!

(you can also link the classics, I wanted to link something that I did not find in the general’s “jazz” thread, and wanted to focus more on just free impro, and some “contemporary” stuff, but ofc a good free jazz thread needs some Coltrane (Alice and John) Coleman, Brötzman, Braxton, Sun Ra, Sanders etc…)


couple obscure friend things from recent listens

2007 SF bay area scene document (harsh.) all are great but the Ettrick track is a favorite

andre vida (eclectic)

… i’ll see what else pops into mind


Great idea!


going to check this one out right now! Thanks for sharing.

As I’m from Finland I can link something more from here! Here is now debunked band Taco Bells from Finland, playing in England, super lofi quality (as said above I think makes it better, but don’t put your money on it, I have a noise music bias :sweat_smile: )

here is just something fun:

Some Freaks made an album with saxophone and junk electronics. super degrading and the playing is pretty “average” if trying not to sound like an asshole :grin: but i find this one to always get the laugh out of me, and isn’t one of arts greatest aspects to get a reaction! Well, just something to think about, interesting record nevertheless…


Before I get into a conversation about my own band’s completely improvised music, can someone put a bit of definition to what counts as “jazz”?

This is an honest, and sincere question.



I think it’s a good question and it also has me wondering if this thread should be renamed something like “The Free Musics”.

I’ve been reading a book titled that by Jack Wright: Spring Garden Editions

It focuses on free jazz a good amount but expands beyond.


thats a harder question that it might seem at first. I remember watching some clips of the old masters of “Jazz” and they did not like the term themselves, they just considered it to be music. I think all the labels are always pejorative in some way or another, but ONLY IN THE CONTEXT OF THIS THREAD I would like the topic of the convo to be just like:

*improvisational music

and I myself find the masters of the craft pretty usually emerging from the scene of “Jazz”

what I consider myself to be Jazz music, is music that comes from the tradition of so called “Jazz”. It does not have to be made by academic musicians, but i think the tradition has to be there for it to be called “Jazz”. Everything improvised is not Jazz, and Jazz does not have to be improvisational at all. but as said above, the context that I am trying to spark up here is Improvisational music / Free improvisation and Free Jazz. The more we tend to go to the “avant-garde” side of things the more we need to fade away all the conventions… But the topic of the philosophy of avant-garde is the topic of another day.

I myself am not academicly trained musician, just a self tought drummer, who happened to see the documentary “Full Mantis” about Millford Graves a bit too early in my playing history, and so I went :sweat_smile:

hope this clears the skies about what I was hoping this thread would become :slight_smile:

This was one hell of a good starting point of the topic “what is it” thank you!


Looking forward to this thread. I keep up to date with ‘Free Jazz and Improvised Music’ at The Free Jazz Collective


my go to’s:

my favorite

my high school music teacher (large public high school in oakland california) invited Peter Brotzmann + band (always wondered why they were in town and able/up to do this) to perform for my 10th grade Music Appreciation Class. not a word of introduction or explanation from our teacher or the band, the bell rang and a class full of oakland youth sit down in front of a group of disheveled german men who proceeded to rip open time&space for 45 minutes (using mostly our schools raggedy ass instruments!) until the next bell rang and everyone staggered to their next class, or like me cut class to smoke weed and ponder existence. i was familiar with john coltrane/ayler/etc from my dad’s music tastes and was just getting into no wave/other variants of noise but this experience was such a complete and total shock and life changing for me in many ways

more great milford beats


That is an amazing story, you lucky duck!

“VIBRATIONS” by Ayler & Cherry & co. is probably my favorite free jazz album. I first heard it at the age of 16 off a dubbed cassette I bought for a quarter at a Goodwill in downtown Rochester, NY all the way back in the 1990s.

I wore the tape out in my car but was fortunate to find a CD copy at Downtown Music Gallery in NYC many years later. I retain the disc to this day and occasionally spin it still.


no way? if that story is true you have experienced something truly magical!

Here is something once again from the context of Finland:

This Album was recorded when Brötzman was touring in Finland by invitation of a cultural exchange kind of situation arranged by Edward Vesala, one of the greatest jazz drummers of Finland. Peter Brötzman and Peter Kowald came to Finland, and were accompanied by Vesala and Juhani Aaltonen, and played about 5-7 shows and recorded an album in Finland, and by the hazy interviews, it seems they were black out drunk the whole time, so very little memories after 45 has passed since this encounter. Super wild free jazz as you would expect from Brötzman and Co. a kind of “hidden gem” in Brötzmans expansive catalogue of records!

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Great discussion!

I raised the question before as to how to define “jazz” in “free jazz” because my own band has had internal ambivalence about the term. The music is always “free” as in totally improvised without any planning in advance, but there has been interesting back and forth over whether “jazz” requires a background in the cannon, or as I have half-jokingly/half-seriously said: “We’re Americans, we’re improvising, and we’ve got a saxophone, so we get to say what it is”…

I guess I lean towards thinking of it as “free music” over “free jazz” and at the end of the day, it’s all dancing about architecture anyway…


if it is true? i’m outta here

don’t go you got some great stories and recommendations, we like you here :frowning:

Anything FMP related is great only book. I especially love the Schwarzwaldfahrr from Brötzmann & Bennink.

But the „free jazz und Kinder“ record is also an all time favorite.

I guess Sun Ra between 1964 and 1977 counts as free jazz. Love every discipline recording from those years. (And many others more)

John & Alice Coltrane - Cosmic music is great


I posted this in the books thread the other day. I think it goes well into the discussion of terms like “jazz” and “free jazz”.


I also has been somewhat active in that thread, I linked the book “Free jazz Communism” by rab-rab press there.

That book is like a study on how free jazz can be seen as a way of the communist, atleast in the topic of the book being: Archie Shepp, who is self proclaimed communist. It has everything to do with Black Empowerment movement in the 60’s and beyond, and Free Jazz was (at the time atleast) the most radical sounds you could imagine!

when you go avant-garde, you have to fade everything of the old away.

Here is the link to Rab-Rab press:


I don’t remember who put free jazz this way: First the saxophonist gets mad, then they calm down, but then the bassist gets a temper tantrum… and oh no, now the drummer is also furious! etc…

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The drummer, Francesco Pastacaldi, blows my mind every time:

The bass-drums furious battle between 0:30 and 0:55, just woaoh.

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The Japanese contribution to free jazz / free music is often overlooked in this kind of discussion so here is Takayanagi Masayuki. The book “Free Jazz in Japan” by Soejima Teruto covers a lot of this stuff and is quite a good read if you want to get a feel for how things developed there in the 1970s, but to be avoided if you have any kind of record-collecting impulses because oh boy those things are hard to find and/or expensive. Some reissues are appearing now which helps.