Last Exit

Decades: 1980s 1990s 2000s


This high-power, high-intensity band came together by chance when its members happened to be playing in the same city (Zurich) in early 1986 and went on to become something of a cult institution. Comprising Peter Brötzmann, Sonny Sharrock, Bill Laswell and Ronald Shannon Jackson, their music was passionate and visceral, mixing elements of free jazz, blues, metal, hardcore, R&B and even the occasional quote from Wordsworth surreally interjected by Jackson. Last Exit, though largely a musical law unto itself, was flexible enough to have incorporated other musicians in live sessions, including Diamanda Galas, Akira Sakata and Herbie Hancock, who Laswell worked with on his Future Shock album. Last Exit’s earliest (and probably wildest) recording, a tape of a concert in Cologne, was held up by legal difficulties until 1990, when it became available on compact disc in some European countries.

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