Jaki Liebezeit on the Constraints of Freedom


Full article in Modern Drummer Magazine

“I came from jazz and played free jazz for two years. In the mid-’60s I was the first free jazz drummer in Germany. But I stopped that because, to my mind, I couldn’t develop any further in that genre. In free jazz you just weren’t allowed to play anything that was harmonically or rhythmically structured. It’s a paradox, but within free jazz there were too many limitations for me! After two years I couldn’t stand that anymore. Repetition or doubling something is a basic element in music.

“With Can I was finally allowed to do what I wanted. Repeating rhythms and grooves over and over again very consciously was a whole new thing at the time—even though this is an old idea: You find repetitive patterns in every culture of the world. In Europe during the ’60s this wasn’t understood at all. But the truth is simple: Without any repetition there is no groove.”

- Jaki Liebezeit

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