50 Years MPS.

Label: MPS.

In 1958, German engineer and producer Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer founded a new record label SABA (Schwarzwälder-Apparate-Bau-Anstalt). Over the next ten years,  SABA  released 40 jazz albums. However, in 1968, SABA’s parent company was sold to the American GTE Corporation. 

Sadly, the new owners had no interest in SABA’s recording business, and when Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer realised this, he decided to found his own new label, MPS Records. His next step was to buy SABA’s entire back catalogue.

Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer then launched MPS Records in 1968, but had no idea that his new label would enjoy the longevity it did. His label would still be going strong in fifty years time and is celebrated on the new compilation 50 Years MPS, which was recently released by MPS. It features eighteen tracks from Volker Kriegel,  Don Ellis, the Oscar Peterson Trio,George Duke,  Elvin Jones Jazz Machine, Erik Leuthauser, Baden Powell. Freddie Hubbard, Joe Pass and Rolf Kuhn. They’re just some of the artists who feature on 50 Years MPS,

Opening 50 Years MPS is Joe Henderson, Billy Higgins, Chick Corea, Ron Carter’s Blues For Liebestraum. It’s taken from the 190 album Mirror Mirror where this multitalented all-star band combine elements of post bop and modal jazz.

By 1971, many jazz musicians had embraced fusion  in America,  Britain and Europe. This included German jazz-rock guitarist, Volker Kriegel who released his sophomore album Spectrum in 1971. It features  Suspicious Child, Growing Up which is the perfect showcase for the Father of German Jazz Rock.

In 1973, thirty-five years old american bandleader, composer, arranger, producer and trumpeter released  the post bop album Soaring. It featured The Devil Made Me Write This Piece where Don Ellis unleashes a breathtaking solo. Tragically, Soaring was Don Ellis’ swan-song, as he died of a heart attack on December the ‘17th’ 1978.

China Moses released her genre-melting debut album Nightintales in 2017. It’s jazz-tinged, soulful, funky and bluesy album. It opens with Running, where China Moses  delvers a vocal that is soulful, sassy and powerful as her band ensure the arrangement swings.

After leaving Liberty, George Duke signed to MPS Records and released The Inner Source in 1973. By then, he was twenty-seven and had just released a truly eclectic album. One of the highlights was Au Right, where jazz funk and fusion combine seamlessly.

Elvin Jones Jazz Machine released their debut album Remembrance in 1978. It featured Little Lady a fusion of modal and post bop that had a contemporary sound that has stood the test of time.

Django Deluxe and NDR Bigband  recorded  Stina for their 2015 album Driving. German-Ghanaian soul-singer Y’Akoto takes charge of the lead vocal on a jazzy song that is a reminder of another age.

Freddie Hubbard released the album The Hub Of Hubbard in 1970. The thirty-two year old trumpeter had made a playing bebop, hard bop and post bop styles in the early sixes. The Hub Of Hubbard which features  Blues For Duane, shows Freddie Hubbard was still relevant musically. 

In 1970, forty-one year old jazz guitarist and vocalist Joe Pass released the album Intercontinental. It fears a captivating reinvention of the classic Ode To Billy Joe.

Mark Murphy’s 1968 album Midnight Mood veered between balladry, Latin jazz and soul-jazz. One of the highlights was the sultry late night sound of Sconsolato where the jazz vocalist gives one of his finest performances.

Closing 50 Years MPS is Rolf Kühn’s cover of Body and Soul. It finds Rolf Kühn fusing elements of modal and free jazz as he plays with freedom and inventiveness and takes a familiar song in a  new direction.

50 Years MPS which features eighteen tracks is a tantalising taste of the music within the MPS Records’ vaults. This includes music from  American and European jazz musicians, including many giants of jazz who wrote their name into musical history. 

There’s also  tracks by new names and artists and bands who didn’t enjoy the commercial success their talent deserved. However, they still play a part in the long and illustrious history of MPS Records which is celebrated on 50 Years MPS. While 50 Years MPS is the perfect introduction to one of the great European jazz labels, it would require a several box set to document  and celebrate the story of Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer’s MPS Records.

50 Years MPS.

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