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About Between

With the first BETWEEN LP in the series Centerpoint in 1971, WERGO marked off the framework by which current music that did not belong to any of the established musical directions would find a place on the record market. If „popular music“ and „serious music“ are often difficult to separate today, if pop music makes use of avantgarde elements now, such approaches were still breaking new ground in 1970. That is where the group BETWEEN formed in Munich, along with others like Amon Düül and Embryo. The nucleus of BETWEEN consisted of two young composers, Peter Michael Hamel and Ulrich Stranz; the Argentinian guitarist and instrument maker Roberto Détrée, who had been living in Munich since 1966; and the New York-born Robert Eliscu, who was then the solo oboist of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 1971 they were joined by the two American percussionists Cotch Blackmon and Charles Campbell, the flutist James Galway from Ireland, soloist of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and finally, for the first recordings, Ulrich Kraus as sound engineer and producer. From 1973 on, other musicians from all over the world brought their musical background to the group BETWEEN, from USA: Tom van der Geld (vibraphone), Roger Jannotta (woodwinds) and Gary Lynn Todd (contrabass), Jeffrey Biddeau from Trinidad (congas), Pandit Sankha Chatterjee from Calcutta (tabla), as well as guests like Walter Bachauer (electronics), Peter Müller-Pannke (tanpura), Duru Omson (bamboo flute), Al Gromer Khan (sitar), Bobby Jones (saxophone) and Franz Lehrndorfer (organist of the Munich Cathedral).

“BETWEEN stood and still stands for the simultaneity of things that are really mutually exclusive” (Peter Michael Hamel, 2005)

“Originally we wanted to call the project B.A.C.H.,” Peter Michael Hamel re-calls, when, in 1970, they were looking for the most unusual name possible for a extremely unusual formation. “Naturally we chose in it in part in allusion to the immortal baroque composer of that name, but above all the letters stood for “Between All Chairs.” That’s exactly how we thought of ourselves. But when we discovered that the idiom doesn’t even exist in English, we dropped it.”
What was left was the word “between,” and the four original members of the group finally decided on that as the band’s name. And even this slimmed version says a great deal about the way we saw this project, which was both originary and original: “We always felt our music was something ‘in-between,’ nothing comparable had existed previously,” Hamel is still convinced. “Above all, our sound existed between the categories of serious and popular music. You could never pin us down to a particular category. That still pleases me today!”