A former colleague of ours from our days in Germany in the late 1970s sent these recordings of our Army band back then performing in several contexts.
This colleague, Bruce Shockley is a fantastic musician and still performs professionally.
The included photographs in this post that are not taken by me or T are primarily from the personal archives of two other former colleagues, Bob Levitsky
GERMANY TOUR YEARS: 1976-1980
What is interesting for us today is to now look back at those days and realize 1977 was only 32 years after the end of World War II, the Cold War was still a thing, and our job with the military was to go around playing music to spread goodwill.
To get a contextual idea of what contemporary life for us in Germany during those years was like visit the House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany website at https://www.hdg.de/
We thought our children and grandchildren might find it interesting to listen to us performing music when we first met (and before we were married in 1979).
We were also just 21-year-old performing artists and gaining experience.
Although we were playing 250 to 300+ concerts and ceremonies each year by then, we were still new professionals.
Working that much builds chops and perspective.
The first two recordings are from a partnership concert and are representative of what the concert band sounded like. In addition to ceremonial music, it also demonstrates the type of music we most often played for German civilian audiences or important functions. T plays flute and I play alto saxophone on these recordings.
On the road again …
We played everywhere from historical concert halls to outdoor concerts for combat arms specialty troops on maneuver training out in the woods. And events that included most everything in between those two…
The song titled “Corazon” is from the Woody Herman band’s library.
It also documents the first ever improvised jazz solo that I took with the jazz band in Germany.
The second song is an adaptation by the famous arranger, composer and former military musician Sammy Nestico titled “Dvorak’s Theme.”
Marcus Hampton is the trumpet improviser.
I don’t remember why the rhythm section is only guitar, bass and drums on these tracks though.
We could have been between the band having replacement players assigned to us to fill for those who left to go home to the USA.
We performed so many gigs. Literally hundreds each year.
“Love is a better teacher than duty.”
– Albert Einstein
At more than one point during our tour,
we worked several months straight,
then had a few days to pay bills
and take uniforms to the dry cleaners
before we were off traveling again.
We found out that we truly loved music.
*First photograph is a drone aerial
photograph of Bleidorn Kaserne
taken in 2019 (courtesy of YouTube).