Marion BROWN & Gunter HAMPEL – Reeds 'n Vibes 1978

Marion BROWN & Gunter HAMPEL – Reeds ‘n Vibes 1978

Jazz

Alto saxophonist Marion Brown is an under-sung hero of the jazz avant-garde. Committed to discovering the far-flung reaches of improvisational expression, Brown nonetheless is possessed of a truly lyrical voice but is largely ignored when discussions of free jazz of the ’60s and ’70s are concerned. Brown came to New York from Atlanta in 1965. His first session was playing on John Coltrane’s essential Ascension album. He made two records for the ESP label in 1965 and 1966 — Marion Brown Quartet and Why Not? — and also played on two Bill Dixon soundtracks. It wasn’t until his defining Three for Shepp (including Grachan Moncur III and Kenny Burrell) on the Impulse label in 1966 that critics took real notice. This set, lauded as one of the best recordings of that year, opened doors for Brown (temporarily) to tour. He didn’t record for another two years because of extensive European engagements, and in 1968 issued Porto Novo (with Leo Smith) on the Black Lion label. In 1970, Brown recorded Afternoon of a Georgia Faun for the ECM label, his second classic. This date featured Anthony Braxton, Andrew Cyrille, Bennie Maupin, Jeanne Lee, and Chick Corea, among others. In 1973, he cut his second Impulse session, Geechee Recollections, with Leo Smith. Brown registered at Wesleyan University in the mid-’70s, studying ethnic instruments and black fife-and-drum corps music and maintained a regular recording schedule. He also recorded with Gunter Hampel in the late ’70s and ’80s, as well as composer Harold Budd on his Pavilion of Dreams album — issued on Brian Eno’s Obscure label — Steve Lacy in 1985, Mal Waldron in 1988, and many others. There are numerous duet and solo recordings that may or may not be sanctioned. Due to health problems, Brown hasn’t recorded since 1992.
By Thom Jurek, Rovi.
**
Hampel is one of jazz’s most prolific and self-reliant musicians. In 1969, he formed Birth Records to release The 8th of July 1969, an album of his compositions performed by a group that included Anthony Braxton, Jeanne Lee, Steve McCall, Willem Breuker, and Arjen Gorter. Since then, Birth has released nearly 50 albums of Hampel’s work in a variety of configurations; some of his performance and recording groups have been the Gunter Hampel Jazz Quintet, “Heartplants” Quintet, World Community Orchestra, Free Jazz Trio, and New York Orchestra.

Hampel began piano lessons at the age of four. By the time he was 16, he had added recorder, accordion, clarinet, saxophone, and vibes. His first exposure to jazz came at the end of World War II; American troops occupying his hometown of Gottingen listened to jazz on the Armed Forces Network and Willis Conover’s Voice of America shows. The first jazz he heard was by Louis Armstrong; it affected him deeply. He grew up under the influence of European classical and folk music, as well as jazz. He formed his own jazz bands in his teens playing all styles of jazz, from early jazz to bebop. He also began composing his own tunes. After military service in the late ’50s, Hampel studied architecture while continuing to play music on the side. By 1958, he had started playing jazz professionally. In 1964, he established the “Heartplants” Quintet, which included Alex von Schlippenbach and Manfred Schoof. The group recorded Heartplants (MPS/SABA), Hampel’s first album, which received a five-star rating from Down Beat magazine. Hampel began playing festivals in Europe and elsewhere. He met vocalist Jeanne Lee in 1967 and began a long personal and musical partnership that lasted many years. In the ’60s, he recorded for the Wergo and ESP labels and played with such American musicians as drummer Steve McCall and saxophonist Marion Brown.

With the formation of Birth, Hampel was able to document his music more completely; since the early ’70s he’s recorded an array of combinations, from duos to big bands. His various ensembles have included such famous musicians as Bill Frisell, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, and Albert Mangelsdorff, as well as such fine if unsung talents as Mark Whitecage, Perry Robertson, and David Eyges. In 1997, Hampel reconstituted his band with Schoof and von Schlippenbach for a gig at the Musik Triennale in Koln. The concert was recorded and the results were released on Birth under the title Legendary. Hampel continued going strong, touring and recording with musicians all over the world. As one might expect from so self-sufficient an artist, Hampel has embraced the Internet with a passion. His website is one of the most comprehensive devoted to a single musician. Hampel is also an accomplished painter.
By Chris Kelsey, Rovi.
**
Alto Sax, Flute [Wood], Percussion- Marion Brown
Vibraphone, Flute, Percussion- Gunter Hampel
Written-By- Hampel (tracks: A1, A3 to B2) , Brown (tracks: A2, B1, B2)
**
A1. And Then They Embraced
A2. Solo
A3. Arrow In The Wind
B1. Flute Song
B2. Improvisation
**


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