Sunday, 5 November 2017

29. Lionel Hampton: Hamp The Legendary Decca Recordings

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Lionel Hampton came to prominence when he joined with Benny Goodman's orchestra in the 1930s. Goodman noticed him playing his vibraphone at a club in Los Angeles and immediately asked him to join himself, Gene Krupa and Teddy Wilson on their small combo recordings thus becoming the first racially integrated successful jazz group. Hampton, from Louisville Kentucky, had spent the previous decade touring with various groups as a flamboyant drummer or on the vibraphone (a recently invented musical instrument).

Hampton went on to form his own orchestra and became hugely successful in the 40s and 50s. His biggest hit "Flying Home" kicks things off here with a great sax solo from the up and coming Illinois Jacquet. The majority of the tracks in the first disc follow the big band mold but then things take a complete left turn with the song "Red Cross" with Charlie Parker blowing an unbelievable solo. Hampton wasn't cowed by the emergence of bebop. Also check out his note perfect solo on the 15 minute live version of "Stardust" featuring Charlie Shavers and Slam Stewart.

Hampton brought through and worked with a lot of up-and-coming young jazz stars. He can obviously be heard in a few of the tracks on Charlie Christian album "Genius Of The Jazz Guitar" due to the Benny Goodman connections. But this album also shows him working with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Dinah Washington, Wes Montgomery and even Charles Mingus on the track "Red Top". The jazz standard "Midnight Sun" is sublime in the hands of Hampton and his orchestra.

Hampton was to have a long career playing right up to the 1990s with infectious energy and  musicianship of the highest calibre.

Disc One
1. Flying Home
2. Hamp's Boogie Woogie
3. Million Dollar Smile
4. Red Cross
5.Hamp's Blues
6.Evil Gal Blues
7.Flying Home
8. Stardust
9. Ribs and Hot Sauce
10.Blow Top Blues
11. Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop
12. Rockin' in Rhythm, Pts. 1 & 2
13. Limehouse Blues
14. Tempo's Birthday
15. Jack the Fox Boogie

Disc Two
1. How High the Moon
2. Three Minutes on 52nd Street
3. Red Top
4. Mingus Fingers
5. Midnight Sun
6. Chicken Shack Boogie
7. Central Avenue Breakdown
8. Drinkin' Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee
9. Moonglow
10. The Hucklebuck
11. Lavender Coffin
12. Rag Mop
13. I Wish I Knew
14. There Will Never Be Another You
15. Pink Champagne
16. Memories of You
17. Time on My Hands
18. Easy to Love
19. Twentieth Century Boogie
20. Dancing on the Ceiling
21. How High The Moon

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