FMP/FREE MUSIC PRODUCTION - An Edition of Improvised Music 1989-2004


Günter Sommer


I do not really know whose idea it was. Certainly, it was not mine. I had just completed my fifth year of "Quartier Latin abstinence", which means that for five years straight there was no "Total Music Meeting" for me; no other occasion could have brought me there. What a strange coincidence; the last concert I played there ended with words of thanks, as in a funeral sermon, to FMP and Jost Gebers. It was to be the last "Total Music Meeting". We were a mixed group of musicians, like a jam session, that celebrated that farewell. Peter Brötzmann spoke. And now, after five years, I find myself sitting on my stool at the drums, in the same place under similar conditions. That mixed bunch that was is melted down to a trio, and then suddenly Barre Phillips is standing at the edge of the stage, he comes onto the platform with the same un-affectedness and the same urge to play as Raphael Garrett, Dudu Pukwana or Ulrich Gumpert used to do. Everything seemed to be as before.

What was happening? What had happened in the last five years? Brötz went his own way, I started doing things that were often criticized, and the FMP fought for survival. And yet this time is different from the last. There was a real need for playing together then. Today it is more voluntary and more mature; maybe it is less political, and all the more musical. Brötzmann is very happy about the nicaraguan cigars I brought him from the GDR, I am happy about his good mood, and we start blasting away in a duo. He is the old warrior on stage; I accept the challenge. My powder has not gotten wet in these five years, as some people had thought.

And then at some point Barre joins us; he is between us with the aura of a justice of the peace. There is no inaugural speech, no farewell song. It is just as it always was. And yet there is a difference, because we are all five years richer in experience.

These five years also make the "Quartier Latin" seem like a place of the past to me. Minor corrections in the facade cannot hide this fact. Maybe it is we - all of us from back then - who care for this museum, because we loved it.

Whoever had the idea for this meeting effected not only a good record, but brought together three musicians who should have a sort of honorary right or season ticket for this still active music museum, "Quartier Latin".

I ask the initiator of this meeting to accept my thanks.

Translation: Barbara Fußmann

Sittin' behind the stage,
behind the black curtain,
Baby and Peter, going for it,
comme d'habitude,
but such a pleasure
to hear again anew.
"Come on Barre…"
"You bet".

Barre Phillips

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