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17 February 2017

Gunter Hampel and his Galaxie Dream Band - 'Broadway/Folksong' (Birth/Jubilee Edition)

Hampel had a productive summer in 1972; several of these 'Jubilee Editions' are recording sessions from that time, spent in New York obviously in collaboration with many American musicians. This is recorded in July, two months after Angel, and in a studio this time. It's mostly a different cast though John Shea and Jeanne Lee are still present, and there's no drumming this time. The compositions are more strongly felt - this is a heavily melodic album, built around plucked and bowed strings. 'Folksong' with flute and violin together, teasing each other towards a theme before the other musicians creep in. It finds a form, a circular, rolling melody, not extremely 'folk'-based to these ears but meant obviously as people's music. 'Broadway' is the main piece, split over two sides, which works in several movements of variously tight compositional form. There's two bassist, a cellist and violin to support the flutter treble core of Hampel & Lee. There's a feeling of Tin Pan Alley, with the basses working to keep the rhythmic centre, and I suppose the title comes from this throwback feeling. This isn't 'Oklahoma!' but unmistakably tied to jazz's past era, with bouncy swing moments and call and response themes coming and going. Just after side two starts, it shifts to the most formal melody yet heard on these Hampel records, and Lee is a delight here, whisking over it all like a tiny hummingbird trying to feed. 

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