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Gunter Hampel at 80: Still Ahead of Time

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JdG: What is your worst nightmare when writing for group and solo projects? What keeps you awake at night?

GH: I had a few nightmares in my life to write for group projects. It is much better to write for your own groups. People you know, and like and know what they can do in a group setting or soloing or whatever. Early in life i always was feeling, that after i had found the right players and the group was swinging and I knew what everyone was capable of doing, that I could write something, let me say, and COULD BE the next step. So I am challenging the participants to go, where no one went before, get into the next step of communication and territory, go, where no one went before. You need to have the right people which are inspiring the others, so, like in an advanced soccer team you can go as a TEAM where they never had gone before… it is not so much the writing, but the team effort, the collective consciousness which raises the single participant into united team effort, that the result is much more than the composition which is just the platform to start, bring the participants together to lift off. You as a jazz musician must have had the same experience that you can play with another guy much more, what swinging, or he or she gives you more space to be yourself and you can add your own voice and so becoming an equal partner… (trails off)

JdG: How much do you practice?

GH: Since i have so many instruments to add to the textures I have to practice vibraphone, bass clarinet, flute and piano as much as possible, every day, one or all, or.. I mean I have to take my time off from other needs in my life to practice.

JdG: Lastly, what are the main challenges that you have faced as a musician in these past years?

GH: To get enough money to do larger projects; or to do more children’s workshops; because they need us most in this computer age. People – humanity – have (has) become so mindless and egocentric…

He trails off for the last time…wistful…forlorn…


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