MPS – 3 letters still fascinating the music world

Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer (left), founder of the MPS-Studio, and the French pianist Martial Solal

The Jazz musician in New York knows about it, the DJ in London as well as the Japanese Vinyl-freak. Around the entire globe the 3 letters are a popular nomenclature in the entire music world. They stand for wonderful preserved music but foremost for an excellent sound.  Whatever the SABA heir, Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer released on records 50 years ago present up-to-date timeless art and „Jazz In the Black Forrest“, is alive and of – melodious sound – even within the younger generation.

The Music Production Schwarzwald was founded in Villingen April of 1968.  And right at first with a   spectacular sensation: Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer (in short known as HGBS) released as start of the first German Jazz label the recordings during an intimate house concert with Oscar Peterson. The Canadian pianist was recorded by the Black Forrest music producer on March 19th 1968 while some experts announced the start of MPS to a surprised audience with extraordinary music samples. Up until then were the tapes and LPs released under the label SABA; which however didn’t prove to be very practical since radios and LP’s were sold under the same brand name.

As early as in 1968 the SABA-MPS-catalog included more than 60 Jazz titles. At that time included were musicians like Hans Koller and Wolfgang Dauner, but also  Archie Shepp and Baden Powell and of course, the by  Joachim Ernst Berendt initiated series „Jazz meets the world“.

The team of these illustrious musicians was enriched by the virtuous Oscar Peterson, and later by the elegantly swinging George Shearing plus the creative George Duke and the so far unheard of vocal sounds of the Singers Unlimited. All of this was followed by much more to come. Beginning in 1969 tours with MPS-musicians through Germany were organized, while at the same time a number of big Jazz festivals automatically included an MPS-evening in their program. All of these events coincided with the ‘Flower Power’ time, prepared to change the world. Woodstock created new festival-dimensions and the Beatles had long been established.

At that time, the young generation of music-admirers discovered at MPS Jazz an entirely new access to a sound world with the presentation of LPs, combining Jazz and Rock. The Dave Pike Set, Volker Kriegel, Associaton P.C. and of course the exciting and fantastic rocking Big Band of Peter Herbolzheimer. All of these wonderful productions documented the candour with which the sound, created in the Black Forrest was sent off into the world, while a great number of youngsters found thus the access to Jazz.

It was of course not only Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer who managed all of this alone. Around a dozen   of close knit xperts around Willi Fruth and Rolf Donner managed with great effort that this sound of premium quality with a creative cover finally resulted in the famous MPS quality product. That’s how this unique document of European Jazz history was created during the sixties and seventies.

After the issue of the first MPS-SABA Jazz catalog released in 1968 and including 36 pages, Joachim Ernst Berendt, for several years producer for MPS wrote: „This enormous success would not have been possible without the enthusiastic echo by the critics”. At that time, the Jazz from the Black Forrest received numerous awards and excellent evaluations by critics and experts as well as branch magazines in the US, England and France. This of course increased the demand for this perfect sound from the Black Forrest.

Many of the then produced musical treasures are timeless and still sound absolutely great. Not only the music of Oscar Peterson or the many piano recordings which from the early beginning were a specialty at MPS. Germany’s first Jazz label has still its admirers, so this unique story, beginning in the Black Forrest more than 50 years ago is happily continued.

Edel, a company located in Hamburg purchased the rights of the MPS-Catalog and is releasing   numerous remakes of the legendary MPS titles. The MPS-Studio in Villingen has been declared a culture monument with the flair of the sixties and still drawing musicians and fans like a magnet. The “story” will be continued.

Friedhelm Schulz

 

 

 

 

MPS – Die MPS Records GmbH was officially founded in Villingen, in April of 1968. It included also the music department of SABA Radio in Villingen. The then still operating SABA Technique Management Director, Hans- Georg Brunner-Schwer (1927 – 2004), who up until then was also responsible for the music department became the sole director of MPS. Brunner-Schwer had, although an autodidact in sound technique, created a totally new sound – unknown to the music world but fascinating to many famous musicians. Oscar Peterson, Friedrich Gulda, Monty Alexander Horst Jankowski, Joachim Kühn, Cecil Taylor and many more were recorded in Villingen. In 1983 Brunner-Schwer sold the largest part of the MPS-rights to Deutsche Grammaphon. Today, the Edel AG is owner of the MPS-rights.