MPS Records, the now legendary German label based in the Black Forest region, has been put back to life a couple of years ago with reissues and new artists on the updated roster.
Now, Gilles Peterson, the British DJ and label head (Talkin’ Loud Records, Brownswood Recordings) has taken on the task of putting together a collection of MPS artists on an album called “Magic Peterson Sunshine” (MPS). The 16-track collection includes tracks from Mary Lou Williams, The Singers Unlimited, Mark Murphy, Don Ellis, Gunter Hampel, and lots more with various obscure additions like a George Duke-written and produced cut by The Third Wave called “Love Train”, which was released as a 7″ only.
Gilles Peterson bought his first MPS album while on holiday in Normandy in France. It was George Duke‘s “Liberated Fantasies”. That’s what he told me yesterday when I was catching up with him at a Kreuzberg hotel. “When I was running Talking Loud…I was brought in by Polygram to set up this boutique label…That gave me the chance to work with JMT Records (Cassandra Wilson, Steve ) and I also realized that Universal had the ownership of MPS Records… Rainer Trüby came into my office and asked me “have you heard these?”. So he really introduced me to the MPS and Saba catalogue.”
“With this one, it was more a case of the classics for me”, even though he got more interested in the free jazz stuff from the label. But with tracks from Hampel or John Taylor, he comes close. There seems to be a typical MPS sound, at least in the early period, the late 60s. “It’s a bit Rudy van Gelder, the European Rudy van Gelder…You can imagine there was good cooking, good sound, and expertise…The golden period I can smell it from here. I feel it.”
And Gilles was very positive about the current music and DJ culture . “There’s a generation of youth that is ready to explore more”. And there is actually a lot to explore on his collection with pieces from George Gruntz, Wolfgang Dauner, Francy Boland, Eddy Louiss, and Wolfgang Lauth.