Gunter Hampel Group

Decades: 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s


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...

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