Jazz West Germany

It’s 60 years since Jazz impresario Gigi Campi from Cologne founded MOD RECORDS , the first independent modern jazz label in Europe – as important as his work with the legendary Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band. Mod Records became a home for jazz greats like Jutta Hipp, Hans Koller, Emil and Albert Mangelsdorff, Roland Kovac, Lars Gullin and Lee Konitz – and some of them even made their recording debut there!

To celebrate the anniversary here’s what could be the most amazing Jazz box ever produced: The complete collection of all 11 vinyl releases on MOD, reproduced as 10″ and 7″ records with original sleeves plus 4 CDs containing all the tracks from the vinyl discs plus unreleased live sessions.

A lovingly researched 120-page hardcover book presents vintage reviews, fabulous designs and alternative sleeves from the archives of MOD designer Wolfgang Raquet, and incredible photos of German photographer Chargesheimer. Also included is a reprint of the legendary MOD RECORDS poster “Jazz West Germany.”

Wolfgang Raquet's poster showing the first Mod releases.
Wolfgang Raquet’s poster showing the first Mod releases.

A fascinating glimpse of the city of Cologne and a daring circle of young people who paved the way for a liberal culture during years of awakening in post-war Germany.

A must for the real jazz afficionado.

“Caterina Valente was at Campi Café, and Karlheinz Stockhausen, Luigi Nono and Romy Schneider, Bruno Maderna and Billie Holiday, Gisela Holzinger and Trude Herr, Maria Callas and Juliette Greco – and of course all the renowned contemporary jazz musicians from America and Europe.” (Ingeborg Drews)

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Work

Following “The Texas Box” is another project called (surprisingly) “The Michigan Box”. This will feature the usual suspects – oddball rockers, garage combos and plain weirdos, from singles released on short-lived labels and Mom’n’Pop “record companies”. And great stories, like the one about Fortune Records (pictured below).

The storefront of Fortune Records' Detroit shop and headquarter, just days before it was demolished.
The storefront of Fortune Records’ Detroit shop and headquarter, just days before it was demolished.

Mod Records Cologne

“Im Campi Café sah man Caterina Valente wie Karlheinz Stockhausen, Luigi Nono wie Romy Schneider, Bruno Maderna wie Billie Holiday, Gisela Holzinger wie Trude Herr, die Callas wie Juliette Greco – und dann natürlich alle bedeutenden Jazzmusiker der Zeit aus Amerika und Europa. “

Mitte der 50er Jahre veranstaltete Gigi Campi (seinen Eltern gehörte das Eiscafé Campi in der Hohen Straße in Köln) Modern Jazz-Konzerte, und daraus entstand die Idee eines eigenen Labels. Auf MOD RECORDS, dem ersten unabhängigen Jazz-Label in Europa, erschienen in den folgenden Jahren 10-Inch-Schallplatten und Singles. Diese gesuchten Sammlerstücke werden (komplett) gesammelt in der Box “Mod Records Cologne”: auf sorgfältig nachgepressten Vinylplatten (in den Original-Hüllen), auf 4 CDs (darunter neu entdeckte, bisher unveröffentlichte Sessions) – und mit einem 120-Seiten Begleitbuch mit faszinierenden Hintergrundinformationen.

Die Box erscheint Anfang April bei BE! Jazz.EP Mod 1 EP Mod 2 EP Mod 3

Dies sind die Covers von drei 25 cm-Platten: BMLP 06013 (Hans Koller), BMLP 06014 (Hans Koller) und BMLP 06020 (Bill Russo & Hans Koller.