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A Respected Musician Who Was Mocked On Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Do Not Play’ Segment Fires Back

For years now, Jimmy Fallon has occasionally devoted some Tonight Show airtime to a segment titled “Do Not Play,” as well as variants “Do Not Read” and “Do Not Game.” The point of the bit is that Fallon mocks creative works he believes are bad, which is a weirdly mean-spirited premise for the (in)famously positive and upbeat Fallon. During a recent installment of “Do Not Play,” Fallon “highlighted” the title track from Nipples, a 1969 album by German free jazz musician Peter Brötzmann. Now, Brotzmann has offered a response.

Rolling Stone describes Brötzmann as “a well-revered free jazz musician with more than 50 years of experience and praise under his belt,” and in an email to the publication, Brötzmann wrote, “We both know that the world is full of ignorants and stupidos, one more or less, who cares.”

He continued, “This little snippet I got from friends all over the world and my reaction was laughter. The only thing that annoys me a bit is that this 1969-made piece is a milestone in at least European free music history. I don’t know these American TV shows but I know that it is a serious TV station, so after a couple of days I am asking myself, sitting here at my kitchen table, is there something behind, not just an out-of-order-joke? Well …. again… who cares.”

During the segment, Fallon takes delight in the album’s title before sarcastically pretending to enjoy the music, which, given that it’s free jazz, isn’t as accessible or traditionally structured as something like a contemporary pop hit. He then offers an unoriginal joke: “That sounds like a Guitar Center on a busy Saturday.”

In a positive review, AllMusic’s Lang Thompson describes Nipples as “something of a free jazz cult item” that’s beloved by Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore. The review notes of the track Fallon would go on to poke fun at, “They create a swirl of sound with saxes locking into repeated riffs that generally change slowly but sometimes take abrupt leaps while the drum, bass, and guitar roll in waves and the piano jumps in with hyperactive runs. The music’s dense, everything-at-once nature sometimes makes it seem like a hot-headed competition, but in the end it’s the musician’s construction of intricately detailed patterns that really matter.”

Check out the “Do Not Play” segment below.

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