Musicians Fred Lonberg-Holm and Peter Brötzmann see too much restriction in playing previously composed pieces. They desire the freedom to play beats and rhythms spontaneously, in the style of improvisation. The duo will be performing at the Kerrytown Concert House tonight at 8 p.m.

Fred Lonberg-Holm and Peter Brotzmann

Tonight at 8 p.m.
Kerrytown Concert House
Tickets from $5

Lonberg-Holm and Brötzmann became acquainted with one another through the Chicago 10tet, an ensemble led by Brötzmann himself. It was in this group that their improvisational techniques were born.

“The Chicago 10tet evolved over the past five or six years, where originally different members would write pieces for us to perform,” Lonberg-Holm said. “At a certain time we wanted to throw out the scores and just play, and we’ve been working that way ever since. Peter lives in Germany, and the ensemble is equally made up of people from Chicago and from Europe.”

The two decided to collaborate and go on a tour together after many successful performances. Lonberg-Holm plays the cello, while Brötzmann is on the saxophone.

“Peter was coming into town for a visual arts show he was running, and he said, ‘It would be cool to do a series of gigs together,’ ” Lonberg-Holm said. “I’ve played in small situations with I think just about everybody in the 10tet. The band is made up of smaller bands, so to speak.”

Lonberg-Holm believes that jazz is the music of improvisers, but as a whole he tries to stray away from this label.

“You get so many different things of what the man on the street would say is jazz,” Lonberg-Holm said. “The word jazz is an amorphous thing, I’m more comfortable not using it at all. It has been used as a racist, street-jacket term applied to African Americans, so musicians in general have been trying to get away from that. We play music that’s not such a typical thing you hear. Everything is kind of new and experimental.”

With Lonberg-Holm and Brötzmann’s experience, improvisation has become second nature to them.

“We just start playing and see where we end up, and where we can go,” Lonberg-Holm explained. “He and I do things where there’s specific melodic material and a rhythmic basis that the music is going to grow out of.”

Lonberg-Holm has performed in Ann Arbor multiple times, and a large factor in his return is the respect he has for the Kerrytown venue.

“Kerrytown has a long, excellent history presenting improvised music,” Lonberg-Holm said. “The first time I played there was some day in the mid-’90s. For the last 10 years I’ve been there on average every 15 months. It’s a place that is open to presenting different music and it’s a very nice sounding room.”

Lonberg-Holm suggests that the audience have an open mind during the performance, as this makes the overall musical experience more enjoyable.

“It can be kind of a trip or a story without words, a non-linear narrative,” Lonberg-Holm said. “The idea in a way is that as soon as you try to force your thoughts on other people, it loses them altogether. It’s more interesting for the listener to leave their mind open so they can put their own angle on the music.”

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