Peter Brötzmann has written a letter announcing that he'll be mothballing his Chicago Tentet, having reached what he feels is the project's creative peak. He told David Keenan in The Wire 345: "For the audience even the routine is a kind of show and they like that. But it comes to a point where the band starts to fulfil expectations and I think I hate that."
The tentet are Brötzmann, Joe McPhee, Mats Gustafsson, Ken Vandermark, Paal Nilssen-Love, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Per Åke Holmlander, Johannes Bauer, Michael Zerang, Kent Kessler and Jeb Bishop. They played a sold out two day residency at Cafe Oto in November this year. Read Brötzmann's letter below:
14 years… The Chicago Tentet
That's a long time for a 10/11 piece band. Time to say goodbye? Time to stop? For sure time to think about the future!
There are a couple of reasons why I decided to stop it, at least for the moment. The first one is the everlasting critical economic situation, actually with no expectation for better times – we Germans and Americans can't count on support from our cultural departments.
The second, much more important, is the music. Hanging together for such a long time – with just a couple of small changes – automatically brings a lot of routine. In general nothing against, you need it sometimes to survive, but if it gets so far that one can't exist without the other – music is over.
In 2011 with the weekends in London and Wuppertal we have reached the peak of what is possible in improvisation and communication with an immense input from all of us. For my taste it is better to stop on the peak and look around than gliding down in the mediocre fields of 'nothing more to say' bands.
I love to work with larger ensembles and I won't say, 'That's it,' but I need a bit of time to think about some changes, the financial situation is important and in a way the financial situation forms and builds sometimes the music. Who can afford to travel with a quintet nowadays, you see what I mean?
I think the next fall will answer the question about the future of a NEW tentet.
Tokyo, 17th of November 2012
WE NEED AGAIN AND AGAIN A MORE ADVENTUROUS SPIRIT
Excuse my language A KICK IN THE ASS and what we call in German VERUNSICHERUNG