Gunter Hampel

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Gunter Hampel, Offside Festival Geldern 2008
Gunter Hampel with daughter Cavana Lee, Moers Festival 2012

Gunter Hampel (born August 31, 1937 in Göttingen ) is a German jazz musician ( composer , vibraphonist , saxophonist , flautist , pianist and bass clarinetist ).

Live and act

Hampel led his own combo for the first time in 1953. He studied architecture and became a professional jazz musician in 1958. a. was on tour with Reinhard Giebel and Toto Blanke , later with Werner Lüdi . The record Heartplants (1964) was one of the first attempts at independent European jazz music. From 1966 he worked increasingly with European musicians such as John McLaughlin , Arjen Gorter , Willem van Manen and Willem Breuker , but increasingly also with American soloists, in particular Marion Brown , Jeanne Lee and Anthony Braxton . Particularly noteworthy is the record The 8th of July (1969), on which European and American free jazz find a convincing synthesis.

He has lived in New York since 1969. In the early 1970s he founded the Galaxy Dream Band there , which lasted for almost 30 years. The main actors of the Galaxy Dream Band were his partner at the time, the jazz singer Jeanne Lee, and the clarinetist Perry Robinson . Hampel has also repeatedly given solo and duo concerts (especially with Brown and Lee, but also with Boulou Ferré ).

Gunter Hampel 1984 in the factory in Hamburg

Then Hampel was part of the indie project The Cocoon, as was Thomas Keyserling, who had previously played for the Galaxy Dream Band for many years . Later there was a collaboration with the Jazzkantine and the founding of the improvised jazz-hip-hop project Next Generation , on which the musicians Christian Weidner , Gerrit Juhnke , or Mike Diez collaborate with the dancer Shaun Vargas and the rapper Smudo . In the New York Trio he works with Lou Grassi and Perry Robinson. Furthermore, Hampel founded the “Gunter Hampel- Johannes Schleiermacher Duo”, the “Gunter Hampel European Trio” in which Bernd Oezsevim also played alongside Hampel and Schleiermacher . In 2001 the Gunter Hampel Music + Dance Improvisation Company was founded . His son Ruomi Hampel-Lee is involved in a number of current projects.

Since 1972, Hampel has been giving children's workshops lasting several days, and tries to teach them the first steps in collective jazz improvisation through movement and improvisation with the Music + Dance Improvisations Company.

Hampel has also written film scores and in 1996 the music for the play Sid and Nancy by Ben Becker . Hampel was also involved in the performance of compositions by Hans Werner Henze , Krzysztof Penderecki and by Don Cherry .

Hampel operates his own record label birth records , which has so far published 120 CDs, DVDs, LPs and sound PICs on DVDs.


From 1967 he lived with Jeanne Lee and had a son, Ruomi Lee-Hampel, and a daughter, Cavana Lee-Hampel.

Honourings and prices

In 1978, Hampel was named a New Star in the Vibraphone Critics Poll for Down Beat . In 1997 he was awarded the Lower Saxony State Prize for his outstanding artistic work . On October 28, 2007, the city of Göttingen awarded Hampel its Medal of Honor . For his life's work he was awarded the German Jazz Prize (Albert Mangelsdorff Prize) in November 2007 . On June 23, 2009 he was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit with ribbon . In 2010 he received the Praetorius Music Prize in the Music Innovation Prize category.

Discographic notes


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Ekkehard Jost , European Jazz 1960–80 , S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt, 1987, ISBN 3-596-22974-X .
  2. ^ Jeanne Lee, Jazz Singer Who Embraced Avant-Garde, Dies at 61. In: newmusicbox , December 1, 2000.
  3. press release
  4. ^ Press release from the State of Lower Saxony