31 August 1937, Göttingen, Lower Saxony, Germany. Hampel studied music from the age of 11 and by the time he was 20 was leading his own band. An accomplished vibraphone player, he is also proficient on clarinet, flute and saxophone - perhaps taking after his grandfather, who was a multi-instrumental street musician. An early pioneer of European free improvisation, Hampel recorded Heartplants with Manfred Schoof and Alex Von Schlippenbach in January 1965, worked with Marion Brown, John McLaughlin and Jeanne Lee (later his wife) and in 1969 set up his own Birth label, on which he recorded collaborations with like-minded experimentalists such as Anthony Braxton, Willem Breuker, Sunny Murray and Enrico Rava. He also began a long-term association with US clarinettist Perry Robinson. An interest in contemporary composition led to his inclusion on the 1971 project that united Don Cherry with Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki (Humus/Actions). In 1972 he formed his Galaxie Dream Band, with which he has since toured Africa, Asia and South America as well as Europe and the USA. Now dividing his time between New York and Germany, Hampel remains a champion of new music, still running his label and his band and finding time for other projects, such as guesting with Cecil Taylor in the pianists Orchestra Of Two Continents (Winged Serpent (Sliding) Quadrants).
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.