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MPS celebrates 50 year milestone

Founded by Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer, Germany's first jazz label reaches its half-century mark on 1 April

An acronym for Musik Produktion Schwarzwald, MPS was officially launched by Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer back in 1968 as the successor to the SABA record label. Based in the Black Forest region of Villingen-Schwenningen, MPS was the first label in Germany to be exclusively dedicated to jazz – Oscar Peterson, George Duke, Singers Unlimited, Freddie Hubbard, Jim Hall, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, John Handy, Ali Akbar Khan, Baden Powell, Dave Pike, Volker Kriegel, Wolfgang Dauner, and Rolf and Joachim Kühn are just some of the names associated with the label.

In 1983, Brunner-Schwer sold most of the rights to MPS to Polygram, who subsequently released music from the MPS archive on CD. Ten years after Brunner-Schwer’s death on 12 October 2004, MPS's catalogue found a new home at German label Edel AG Ede, where the music got digitised and a selection – namely works by Oscar Peterson, George Duke and Monty Alexander – from its back catalogue was also re-released on vinyl and tape. It also produced some new records from Rolf Kühn, China Moses, Lisa Bassenge, Hamilton de Hollanda and Mari Boine, among others.

To mark its 50th anniversary, April will see the launch of the Ambassador series, which hopes to bridge “the gap between present players and past MPS milestones”, by inviting the likes of Gilles Peterson, Ed Motta, Till Brönner and Götz Alsmann to present their favourite albums for reissue, along with personalised sleevenotes.

You can find more information about the label’s releases at MPS's website.