AK Musick interview with Hans Kumpf
Teacher’s College (“Pädagogische Hochschule”) in Ludwigsburg close to Stuttgart
in Southern Germany. Three of us (Alfred Lell, Winfried Koch, Hans Kumpf) had
the same clarinet teacher. The singer Angela Weber I have known already from my hometown of Schwäbisch Hall, where we joined the same pupils’ choir. The
Keyboarder Helmut Grab also studied with the famous composer of contemporary
music Helmut Lachenmann, a Luigi Nono alumnus.
projects before 1972?
music; the others were more active in classical music. I was the only one who
was really involved in jazz before.
in Stuttgart. What did you study and what influenced you the most?
Markgröningen in the Stuttgart area. My parents moved then to Schwäbisch Hall, quite in the
middle between Stuttgart and
Nuremberg, in 1957. There I was impressed by foreign students of the University in Heidelberg who performed in my
hometown: I could listen to the original music of Africa, Asia and America.
When I was a teenager I was already interested in the music from the whole wide world. In an alternative youth club (“Alpha 60”) I attended interesting jazz concerts (like pianist Wolfgang Dauner and trombonist
Albert Mangelsdorff) and later I
organized “music weeks” (including
classical + contemporary music, jazz an advanced pop/folk music). In my
school, which was specialized in music, I as a pupil/student had the responsibility for culture. In
May 1969 I organized a bus trip to Stuttgart, where Jimi Hendrix performed –
even some months before the Woodstock festival.
began with a recorder (simple flute), later I learned in lessons trumpet, piano and clarinet. Now
clarinet is my main instrument.
influences. What can you tell me about the concept behind it and what does the
name actually mean?
to make music in a very democratic way. Everybody had a classical education –
this was the base. Of course we were also influenced by the avant-garde composer Helmut Lachenmann (who also was in the studio during our LP
recording). He writes very intellectual compositions, and the parameters are
very important (this we learned with the Stockhausen alumnus Johannes Fritsch in
Darmstadt, too!). AK Musick? “AK” is a German abbreviation for “Arbeitskreis”
(“workshop”), which was used at the universities quite often at that time.
“Musick” is a mixture of the English “music” and the German word “Musik”. Even
in medieval times they wrote “musick” in England. And in “Musick”, there is
included the English word “sick”. We had humor.
Is the musical content a live-recording from the 13. German Jazz
Festival Frankfurt, that held on 14.11.1972? Would you like to tell us a bit
more about the pieces on the LP?
played at the German Jazz Festival in Frankfurt at the Newcomer’s Concert –
with more than thousand listeners and “live” a radio/TV recording. In the same
hall the Rolling Stones and Janis Joplin performed before, later Miles
Davis and many others. On November 14 in the same year we recorded the LP at
the famous Bauer Studios in Ludwigsburg. We prepared the studio session very
carefully – time is money. At least we did it in three hours. The sound engineer
was Martin Wieland, who had recorded before the popular cologne concert by
Keith Jarrett for the ECM label.
music – but we used only natural instruments, “Hava” is a feature for three
clarinets, “Ron Do” is like a classical rondo, but with solo improvisations as
the new parts. The theme we played only once, and it was later technically
copied to fulfill the rondo form.
track of the AKM LP.
The cover artwork and everything is all handmade. How did you decide to do so
and how many copies were released. I believe 200?
We released 150 LP’s. We were students and had less money. Therefore it
was the cheapest way to make the
cover art for our own as handwork – with templates. The booklet we printed with the help of the student’s
association. We worked for a December weekend at the floor of the Ludwigsburg teachers college.
It made fun. It’s crazy: Today at Ebay
they pay more than 700 Dollars for
our old and historic long playing disc.
perhaps any other recordings still unreleased?
Musick as quintet xisted for a
decade. In 1980 we did the performances “Spuren einer Russlandreise”
(„Tracks of a Russian Trip“)
after Winfried Koch and me were in Moscow and Leningrad/St.Petersburg.
It was a multimedia combination of art and music. We all stayed friends, but we didn’t play in the old
quintet ensemble. For instance, Angela Weber, Alfred Lell and me were singing
in the choir of the musical “Cabaret” at the Stuttgart State Theater…
concert to the Bauer Studios for digitalizing the analog recording. Then I burnt CD’s for my own. That is all.
Robinson. Wolfgang Dauner was also part of this album. What can you tell me about
it? This was again a very limited issue?
he was interesting for me. I heard
him several times before, but when he played in 1974 (2 years after AK Musick)
at the Frankfurt festival I
spoke with him, and soon we settled a duo on a bark bench outside the festival hall. We played in harmony like
two brothers. After that I organized a studio recording in Stuttgart. It was after a
concert he did with Gunter Hampel – between 1 and 3 o’clock in the night. Because there was
time left for the LP I added three solo pieces. There is one (“Mona-a-gogo”) with a little help
of my friend Wolfgang Dauner. He had invited me for recordings at the Radio Stuttgart before,
and after that I arranged this peace for me as a clarinet on two different tracks. These
two tracks he transformed with a ring modulation of his synthesizer. I produced 200 LP’s
of “Free Blacks” (it means the free black clarinet instruments…)
Konrad, ‘Jam Session Leningrad’, feat. Anatoly Vapirov, Sergey
Kuryokhin, Alexander Alexandrov and ‘Jam Session Moscow’, feat. John
Fischer, Leonid Chizhik, Alexey Zubov. What can you tell us about projects
you had together with previously mentioned musicians?
strength. Just for fun. My clarinet colleague Theo Jörgensmann (we met us in Remscheid – close to Cologne
– at a jazz clinic in 1969) had no
own label, then I said he could write “AKM” on the sleeve.
1980/January 1981 when I had my
regularly vacancies as a teacher. But then I smuggled my clarinet in and a tape
out – Jam Session Leningrad. There I improvised
together with saxophonist Anatoly Vapirov, bassoon player Alexander Alexandrov and the late pianist Sergey
Kuryokhin. I was the first Western jazz avant-gardist to play in USSR together with resident
musicians. I came as normal
tourist and had to hide my ambitions against the KGB.
Fischer (piano), to Russia and we
did a Session in Moscow together with the well-known players Leonid Chizhik
(p), and Alexey Zubov (ts). Chizhik now lives in Munich, Zubov moved to Los
the story behind it and what followed after this?
Leningrad, who worked for the Russian Service of the BBC in London and found
the label “Leo Records”. He had presented my LP’s recorded in Leningrad and in
Moscow already in the British radio. And so he was so friendly to release my
sessions done in the Baltic metro poles of Riga, Vilnius and Tallinn as a
“real” record company. In Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia I played together with
leading jazz musicians there. Of course I was quite famous in whole Soviet
Union thanks to the underground propaganda of the free jazz dissidents…
and working as a photographer
than as a clarinetist. So have no special planes as a musician. If the people
ask to perform with my Polish
wife Katarzyna “Polish Poetry + Jazz”, I can do it. On other sides I like to play at openings of art
exhibitions, and often I play a kind of Klezmer music at events for killed Jews
by the Nazi regime.
scene. You were more part of jazz scene, rather than rock experimental scene
with acts such as Amon Düül II, Embryo etc. But were you connected with what
was happening at the time and what was the scene in your city?
We wanted to make a democratic
and world open minded music. Of course, I have known and listened to
Embryo, Amon Düül, but it was no
influence to AK Musick. When we played at the Frankfurt festival Paul and Limpe Fuchs (often
partner of the piano player Friedrich Gulda!) joined us as surprising guests on the stage. The best
concert of my hometown Schwäbisch Hall in 1969 was “Black Sabbath” with Ozzy Osbourne… They played for 600 Deutsche Marks (approx. 200 Dollars) in a former church.
Thanks for taking your time. Would you like to send a message to It’s
Psychedelic Baby readers?