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Hannes Zerbe – Blechband

Hannes Zerbe - Blechband - CoverAmiga Jazz, GDR, 1984

A little lesson in history.
In the former communist countries all labels were led by the government or atleast some cultural division of it. Because of that and the fact that most records were sold out very fast economic reasons were a minor conisideration in the process of selecting artists to be published. Most of the time it was more about “cultural value”, even if today its hard to understand the “cultural value” of some records.

The point is now that due to that reason there is an enormous backstock of freejazz avaiable from eastern labels. Labels like Amiga Jazz, Polish Jazz and others published some seriously crazy stuff. To my understanding Freejazz in the western countries mostly happened on festivals and did not get taped or published on records, so the most part of this kind of music from the 60s to 90s is avaible only from those eastern labels, and I speak about records with 45 minutes of drum-solo or records based on the idea that a guitarist and a piano player talk about the music they want to do beforehand, go to seperate rooms and record their music simultaniously but without being able to hear what the other one is playing.

This record is one good example. Hannes Zerbe was a very active east german freejazzer (piano, brass, composer) with quite a few records on Amiga Jazz, this is one of the most interesting.

He formed a brass-section consisting of people having no knowledge about jazz at all (mainly they came from symphonic orchestras), told them a little about what was going to happen and then basically forced them to improvise while he was playing the piano and some other jazz-musician played drums.

The track I chose is B1 – “Metamorphosen II”, that one is a good overview about the things going on on this record.

Got that from my local library.

As always, you can try to get this on Or you can try to look for records from Amiga Jazz or Polish Jazz. Its not all freejazz though.

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