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Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Žiga Koritnik - "Brötzmann in My Focus" Project

Free Jazz Blog: Thank you for taking the time to discuss your current book project, Brötzmann in My Focus, for which you are currently raising funds to publish. To start, can you tell us about the book?

Žiga Koritnik: I started to think about the book years ago. In 2019 I asked Peter if he would give me permission to do it. After he said yes, I started collecting pictures from the concerts, events, and portraits I did from 1994 until 2019. Book will have 152 pages, 99 black and white pictures with one colour exception. Peter sent me his first camera and I placed it next to his text that he wrote for the book. Texts were written by Peter Brötzmann, John Corbett, Mats Gustafsson, Bill Laswell, Heather Leigh, Paal Nilssen-Love and Paul Lovens. In the book I have two poems written by Joe McPhee and Steve Dalachinsky. Book design is done by Nina Šturm. In the book are appearing with Peter: Caspar Brötzmann, Joe McPhee, Michael Zerang, Jeb Bishop, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Johannes Bauer, Per-Åke Holmlander, Ken Vandermark, Paal Nilssen - Love, Mats Gustafsson, Erhard Hessling, Hamid Drake, Kent Kessler, Toshinori Kondo, Marino Pliakas, Michael Wertmüller, Akira Sakata, Nasheet Waits, Jan St.Werner, Konstantin Drobil, Takeo Moriyama, Steve Swell, Bill Laswell, Heather Leigh, Hans Oberlechner, Riccarda Kato, Ralf Dick, Marek Winiarski, Petra Cvelbar, William Parker, Jost Gebers, Bogdan Benigar, Zlatko Kaučič. Pictures were taken in Konfrontationen, Nickelsdorf / Austria; Jazz-it!, Salzburg / Austria; Vision Festival, NYC / U.S.A.; Satchmo Jazz Club, Maribor / Slovenia; Cankarjev dom, Ljubljana / Slovenia; Railway station Ljubljana / Slovenia; N.O.Jazz festival, Zagreb / Croatia; Club Gromka, Ljubljana / Slovenija; Narodni dom, Maribor / Slovenia; Long Story short - Music Unlimited, Wels / Austria; Krakowsja Jesień Jazzowa, Krakow, Poland; MGLC / International Centre of Graphic Arts Ljubljana / Slovenia; Artacts, St.Johann in Tirol / Austria; Ai confini tra Sardegna e jazz, Sant'Anna Arresi / Sardinia / Italy; Not TwoTwenty, Wleń / Poland; Three nights of music, Berlin / Germany. It will be printed in the best possible way.

How long did you know Peter Brötzmann? When did you first see/meet him?

My initial visit to Konfrontationen in 1994 was a powerful musical experience. The world of modern improvised music was foreign to me, and I struggled to connect with it. For three days I wondered what I was doing there. However, while in this puddle of emotion, I encountered Peter Brötzmann’s Die Like a Dog quartet (with Hamid Drake, William Parker and Toshinori Kondo). Their performance was a revelation, offering me a profound new understanding of music and teaching me how to truly listen to modern improvisation.

From that moment, I became a devoted follower of Brötzmann’s work, attending his performances whenever possible. Each experience was as enriching, if not more so, than the last. My collection of concerts, encounters, and photographs with Brötzmann grew over the years, forming a treasure trove of memories. But the first time I talked to him was in 2005 when I asked him if I could make a portrait of him. That happened after the concert he did with Slovenian drummer Zlatko Kaučič 's band. In the following years I met him many times. I helped him to organize his exhibition in Ljubljana.

Did you ever speak about photography with him? Did he have ideas for the images?

We talked a couple of times about photography, about the cameras he liked to work with. He regularly took photographs on his travels, sometimes he used it as as a template for later paintings, prints he made. We found out that we were using the same type of camera Fuji X100.

How long have you been photographing free jazz concerts and musicians?

As I described, free jazz enchanted me in 1994 with the concert of the band Die Like A Dog. Before I was already taking pictures at different concerts, from rock and a few times even classical music. I started in the 80's, I took pictures of the Weather Report's concert in Ljubljana and Miles Davis' concert in Belgrade. Despite that, at that time I was still learning to take pictures. I took one good picture - remember, we were working with analog cameras - and that picture has been used for the Slovenian translation of his biography.

What draws you to this type of music? Or the scene?

I like to be among the creative people. Actually some inner force, the environment I have been living in created my taste of music. In Slovenia, we have Radio Student, which broadcasts "different" kinds of music. Many times, we were waiting for the programme that was broadcasting the music we liked and recorded it on the cassettes. We borrowed vinyl records from friends, sampled them and listened to them countless times.

Do you have other musical interests (styles, settings, etc)?

My answer will be very clichéd, there is only good or bad music. I listen to and follow whatever convinces me and gets into my ears

What do you look for when you take a photo?

First, the music needs to convince me. I try to convey the atmosphere of the action in the photographic medium. It has to be sincere, it must not contain any bluff, most of which I can quickly spot. If not at the concert, then perhaps later when looking at the photos. I like to watch the development of individual musicians into great people. Of course technically it needs to be done in a proper way. Of course you need to know how the camera works and the photographic language.

Back to the book, where are you in the process of publishing it? What do you need? What can people do to help?

On 23rd of May, my 60th birthday, I launched the crowdfunding project on Kickstarter. It will be active until the 24th of June and I hope that I will gather enough finances to print the book. You can find more about it if you follow the link (below), where you can see what I am offering to the supporters. Without supporters, it will not be possible to print the book. I have a very good experience with the community and I am also very grateful to them with my previous book Cloud Arrangers, which I also created with the help of Kickstarter. On 24th of May I traveled to Warsaw, where I built up an exhibition dedicated to Peter at Three Night In Tribute To Peter Brötzmann. In parallel, I am promoting a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter.

Žiga Koritnik. Photo by Petra Cvelbar.