Jazz history was forged in the rustic Black Forest of Germany in 1968 when Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer launched MPS Records and recorded some of the genre’s seminal artists. Legends like Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Dexter Gordon, Freddie Hubbard, The Count Basie Orchestra and George Duke released albums on the prestigious label known for its high-level recording technique and distinctive aesthetic. Much of MPS’s catalog will be reissued in the United States over the coming months thanks to a distribution pack with Germany’s Edel and New York City’s Bob Frank Entertainment.
The first titles to hit, Fitzgerald’s “Sunshine Of Your Love” and Hubbard’s “The Hub of Hubbard,” are dropping June 16 as limited-edition vinyl LPs exclusively through Vinyl Me, Please.
“It is very exciting to see a renewed interest for the MPS label in North America. As Germany’s first jazz label, MPS played a crucial role in jazz history even though both the label and the studio were based in a small town in Germany´s Black Forest region. MPS is such a unique story, possibly the best kept secret in jazz music. For the Edel group, it is a big honor to preserve this great legacy and presents classic albums and hidden gems to generations of old and new fans around the world. Edel plans to continue releasing titles from the catalog on high-quality vinyl and to keep the original spirit of the label alive with brand new albums by artists who have the same spirit of freedom and musical innovation that are trademarks of so many wonderful albums released by MPS over the years,” said Timo Jäger, label manager of MPS.
Over the coming months, MPS albums will be re-released on vinyl and CD by Fitzgerald, Hubbard, Gillespie, Duke, Gordon & Slide Hampton, Don Ellis, Lee Konitz & Martial Solal, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evan, Joe Henderson, Rolf Kuhn, The Count Basie Orchestra, Dave Pike Set, Eugen Cicero, Gilles Peterson, Joanne Grauer, Mark Murphy, and Monty Alexander. MPS will also reissue collections by Baden Powell on vinyl, CD and a live DVD.
“We are thrilled to be a part of the historic relaunch of the MPS label with our North American distribution partner Edel. We are excited to be able to expose this wonderful catalog, in many cases for the first time, to jazz fans,” said Bob Frank, CEO and founder of Bob Frank Entertainment.
Known as the Queen of Jazz, Fitzgerald challenged herself by electing to sing an album of rock and pop classics by such artists as Eric Clapton, the Beatles, and Burt Bacharach along with a few standards. Half of “Sunshine Of Your Love” (1969) was recorded live using a big band while the other half features Fitzgerald’s longtime accompanists, the Tommy Flanagan Trio.
While on a European tour in 1969 with his world-class quintet, Hubbard trekked to the German Black Forest to record “The Hub of Hubbard.” The trumpeter had already forged a unique sound that mixed hard bop, soul and fusion. Hubbard and the band, which features saxophonist Eddie Daniels, pianist Roland Hanna and a taut rhythm section formed by bassist Richard Davis and drummer Louis Hayes, stretch out on the four-song set that includes a 13-minute exploration of the standard “Without A Song.”