Reice Hamel Recording USA - Pioneer of On Location Remote Recording

Birth of an American Industry:

Maurice Murray Hamel, who later changed his name to Reice Hamel was born in the lower east side of Manhattan, NY.  June-18-1920. His mother Freida Bernstein and Father Leo Hamel were Jewish immigrants from Austria who came to America in the early 1900's.  In World War II he became a Navy Lieutenant, Chief Radio Officer.  The Germans had developed a very advanced recording system called the Magnetophon and history tells that Jack Mullen, an Army Signal Corps Captain, brought the first of these machines to the US after the War.  This was the birth of the Recording Industry in America.  With the help of stolen German technology the company Ampex Magnetic Recorders was formed in Northern California.  After the War, Reice Hamel worked for International Telephone as a field engineer and was also a freelance television technician in Manhattan NY.  In 1956 he became interested Audio and Magnetic Recording and decided to try it as a business.  He used a modified Ampex 601 tape deck to record his first client, the Girl Scout Jamboree.

Reice Hamel (right) World War II 
1945 on-board ship radio comm crew.





Alone in San Francisco:

Reice Hamel Porsche super 90 mobile recording: San Francisco 1958                                      

The business of recording was a new frontier in America during the 1950s so he moved west to a city filled with new ideas and talent, San Francisco. In the 1950s San Francisco was a hot bed of talent and in a small night club, called the Hungy I , on any given evening there would be legendary comedians, singers and bands of all types.  Reice Hamel became the recording engineer to stars when he was granted the job of recording a well known Jazz group called the Cannonball Adderley Quintet . The recording was to take place at the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco.
The legendary record producer Orrin Keepnews started a small record label, Riverside Records, and he commissioned Reice Hamel on 
Oct.18.1959 to record the two day session.  The recording and subsequent album that resulted became, according to Keepnews, " one of the most exciting, influential and successful live recordings in modern jazz history ".  

FOR THE RECORD: It is said that during the recording sessions of Thelonious Monk, George Shearing,the legendary blind pianist, walked in on the play back of the recordings and was complimenting the musicians on their skills as he thought the band was playing but in-fact it was the tape rolling.

Nat Adderley once said " Reice Hamel is the greatest remote recording engineer in the world" source, Gary Barclay, jazzverbatim.com

The success of the Cannonball recording propelled Reice Hamel into national attention and he was nominated for a Grammy Award for recording excellence.  This was the first Grammy Awards and he was the first engineer to be nominated.  After all the success Reice Hamel went back to the work bench and improved his electronic circuits.  Ampex Corporation, the maker of his tape deck, used him as a field test engineer to improve the design of tape decks during that era.  In 1963, at the Hungy I club, a young teenage singer made her debut recorded by Reice Hamel her name was Barbra Streisand.

Stay tuned for updates
Reice Hamel Jr.
Comments