Well over 1000 recordings have been made in the MPS studio (at the beginning still SABA studio) since the beginning of the 60s. The founder of the studio and record label Hans-Georg Brunner-Schwer (HGBS), co-owner of the well-known radio and TV manufacturer SABA (Schwarzwälder Apparate-Bau-Anstalt since 1918 in Villingen), was himself an enthusiastic hobby pianist. In 1944, at the age of 17, HGBS was called to warning duty at SABA due to nighttime air raid alarms, as Villingen was in the approach path of planes flying air raids over Munich. Jazz music was played over the radio to the American pilots, who targeted HGBS with technical equipment from SABA. So he heard Glenn Miller “In The Mood”, “Moonlight Serenade” or “Sentimental Journey” for the first time – and the foundation stone of Villingen’s jazz history was laid. With the economic miracle comes the great demand for broadcasting equipment. SABA has a competitive advantage, the quality from the Black Forest is well known and the competition fears Made In The Black Forest.

As early as 1963, HGBS released jazz recordings (tape and vinyl) on his SABA label. However, classical, pop and upscale light music are also recorded in the premises of a former pasta factory, close to the SABA site and the HGBS villa.

Many famous jazz musicians are guests here and there are exclusive house concerts in the private villa of HGBS, which is also equipped with a small studio. Duke Ellington or Oscar Peterson and many others come to enjoy soon legendary good hospitality and excellent sound recordings.

With the sale of SABA in 1968 to General Telephone & Electronics (GTE), the studio had to rename itself: MPS! MPS stands for Musik Produktion Schwarzwald, later also affectionately paraphrased as the Most Perfect Sound.

With the MPS label, the complete range of jazz is represented, from free jazz to piano jazz, from accordion jazz, big band jazz to vocal jazz – an unbelievable repertoire of top-class recordings is created here in the hitherto musically inconspicuous southern German province.

German-speaking as well as European musicians publish their records here: Irène Schweizer, Wolfgang Dauner, Albert Mangelsdorff, Volker Kriegel, Jasper van’t Hof, Hans Koller, Peter Herbolzheimer, Joachim and Rolf Kühn, Friedrich Gulda as well as numerous jazz grandees from overseas: Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, George Duke, Clark Terry, Lee Konitz, Don Cherry, Sun Ra, Milt Buckner, Cecil Taylor, Dave Pike, Baden Powell, the Singers Unlimited and many others.

The most important producers besides HGBS are Joachim-Ernst Berendt, who produces the series Jazz meets the World for MPS, among others, and lays the foundation for the genre of world music. In dusty post-war Germany, Berendt does pioneering work for jazz in Germany with books, TV and radio broadcasts or the artistic direction of the festivals Berliner Jazztage, Donaueschinger Musiktage and Baden-Baden New Jazz Meeting. Berendt’s numerous productions for SABA and MPS are milestones in German jazz history. Without a doubt, Berendt has played a decisive role in shaping the repertoire of the MPS label.

The jazz musician, composer, sound engineer and music producer Willi Fruth, already head of production at the SABA label in 1963, is also responsible for numerous productions at MPS in this capacity from 1968.

Sound engineer legend Rolf Donner comes from Leipzig, where he grew up in the neighborhood of jazz legends Rolf and Joachim Kühn. Originally working at Südwestfunk Baden-Baden, he was invited by HGBS to help set up the recording studio in Villingen and was responsible for numerous legendary recordings from the 1960s onwards.

The special quality of the recordings is due to the demands of HGBS and its sound engineers, producers and premises, but also to the special atmosphere. Time and money play less of a role. People often work late into the night and also like to party.

Oscar Peterson to HGBS:

“You know, now I’m just playing for the microphone and for you and not in some studio where they say you have two hours and then you have to be done recording and leave the studio. With you, I can play for hours, as long as I want, until we both like it.” (Book Jazzin’ The Black Forest / Crippled Library / 1999)

Nathan Davis:

We went to Villingen to do that recording date (Happy Girl). One thing I remember about that session was that we got paid even before we’d finished the music. That shocked me. It had never happened to me before! And during the break they asked us what we wanted to eat. Fried chicken, steak, whatever. And we got it. I said “What? Jazz musicians and being treated like this?” They got us everything we wanted. It was incredible.
(Book Jazzin’ The Black Forest / Crippled Library / 1999)

Dieter Reith about HGBS:

“Other personalities of his caliber invested their money in yachts and parties, he produced jazz and helped musicians realize their musical dreams. In doing so, he created a unique jazz catalog that is unparalleled in the world.”
(Book Jazzin’ The Black Forest / Crippled Library / 1999)

The love, fascination and passion for music as well as the realization in the studio has priority for HGBS. So it’s not surprising that some pearls never made it to a larger print run, even though there was enough potential. Today, these plates are traded at high prices.

In the early 80s, HGBS sells its catalog to Polygram and continues to produce under the HGBS label for many years. In 2004, Hans-Georg Brunner-Schwer dies in a traffic accident not far from where he worked.


Again and again we are asked if we have something to do with the festival “Jazzin’ The Black Forest” or the company “HGBS Blue”/”Black Forest Sounds”. The answer is no.


Extremely exciting improvisation from Vienna. The whole thing in the blood. The boundaries are fluid.


A recommendable blog from Villingen-Schwenningen.


We have compiled here some photos from our first season November 2022 – July 2023.