Jaki Liebezeit, drummer and founding member of the legendary Krautrock band Can, has died. The band confirmed Liebezeit’s passing on their official Facebook page writing: “It is with great sadness we have to announce that Jaki passed away this morning from sudden pneumonia. He fell asleep peacefully, surrounded by his loved ones. We will miss him hugely”. He lived to be 78.
Born May 26, 1938 in Dresden, Germany, Liebezeit was a jazz styled musician before becoming an experimental one. He was part of the Manfred Schoof quartet, who were pioneers of European Free Jazz, also known as avant-garde Jazz.. As a jazz drummer, this style highly contributed to his future days with the band Can and lifted the development of the so-called “Motorik” beat, characterizing the Krautrock genre. His style was characterized by fellow bandmates as “Half man, half machine”.
Apart from Can, whether it was producing or drumming, Liebezeit worked with many musicians including Brian Eno, Jah Wobble, and Depeche Mode. Recently, he worked on a record called Cyclopean EP alongside fellow Can co-founder, Irmin Schmidt, and long-time collaborators, Jono Podmore and Burnt Friedman.
Many musicians paid their respects on social media including, Franz Ferdinand. Frontman Alex Kapranos wrote, “Farewell, Jaki Liebzeit. I’ll never tire of listening to you play.” Franz Ferdinand once covered “Connection” by Can, for their album Late Night Tales: Franz Ferdinand (2014). Cedric Bixler-Zavala, from The Mars Volta, also took to twitter saying “All roads of drumming eventually lead to Jaki Liebezeit. Your approach was contagious RIP #JakiLiebezeit”.
He was no Keith Moon or Ginger Baker, but he was a drummer who greatly contributed to a music scene highly influential in various genres, adding to his legacy.