To understand Brötzmann, a study of the photos from the 1960’s and 1970’s is instructive. European basements became the real proving ground of jazz, just as they once were in 1940’s and 1950’s urban America. Not the academy or the textbook, but the listen-and-play-and-learn, and then keep playing school of jazz. Brötzmann and others like him defied critical indifference by setting up their own record labels and building up their own facilities to further their musical ambitions. It was music formed in basements shielded from the influence of any popular public life. Their rhetoric was critical and severe because they felt the times demanded it. The severity of their thinking was matched only by the ignorance of the general public towards their existence. They not only learnt to play differently but to link their playing to thinking differently.