Music journalist, author and sound artist Michael Rüsenberg invites jazz greats to an interesting exchange at "Speak Like A Child." The title of the series goes back to the title track of the legendary Herbie Hancock album from 1968 and is a reference to the musical primary color of the Stadtgarten. Now the popular interview series is also available as a podcast, to be heard here on this website, Spotify and iTunes.
Gunter Hampel is probably the greatest transatlanticist in German jazz. He has lived in New York for decades, even today he has a "Butze" there. The spectrum of those he has met and played with there, but also in Europe, is incredible: Thelonious Monk, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Jimi Hendrix, Anthony Braxton, Archie Shepp, John McLaughlin, Hans Werner Henze, Daniel Barenboim....
He might be the most adaptable German jazz musician. Even more than Peter Kowald (1944-2002), he was or is integrated into the African-American community; his marriage to African-American singer Jeanne Lee (1939-2000) produced two children. But Gunter Hampel, born in Göttingen on August 31, 1937, is also that: a proud citizen of his hometown.He started with accordion, plays vibraphone, bass clarinet and flute, but also all kinds of saxophone. He is an improviser par excellence, but also a pioneer of European free jazz - without having been involved in the "Kaputtspielphase" at the end of the 60s. The American magazine down beat wants to have recognized a "romantic" in him already in 1964 - which he does not reject.
Last but not least, Gunter Hampel is the greatest storyteller of German jazz. Sometimes he loses himself in it; the audience in the Stadtgarten Lounge followed him in this on January 13, 2019 - as you can hear - with the greatest pleasure.
Text: Michael Rüsenberg