Friday, 15 December 2017

Lionel Hampton - Jaybird

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  • Published on Friday, 29 November 2013 11:29
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760846FINALLionel Hampton

Jaybird - 3:50
Bebop -
2:12
I Cover The Waterfront -
3:23
Satchmo's Blues - 2:00
Hot House -
1:53
Adam Blew His Hat - 2:54
Calling Dr. Manusco -
2:59
Brant Inn Boogie -
3:38
Good Rockin'Tonight -
2:21
Dues In Blues -
3:35
Beulah's Boogie -
3:17

Lionel Hampton - Jaybird

Lionel Hampton was the first major vibraphonist in jazz, making his mark as a member of the Benny Goodman Quartet with Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa. Originally a drummer, he took part in a Louis Armstrong record date where a vibraphone had been left in the studio. He was asked by the trumpeter to play it a little behind two solos and it became Hampton’s main instrument, though he would continue to play drums and two fingered-piano solos for delighted audiences. Hampton’s career blossomed after leaving Goodman, as the vibraphonist launched his big band, which featured up and coming stars like Charles Mingus, Illinois Jacquet, Art Farmer, Clifford Brown, Quincy Jones and Gig Gryce among others. He appeared on numerous allstar and small group recording dates, holding his own playing with virtuosos like Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson. Hampton also wrote or co-wrote a number of songs that became jazz standards: “The Midnight Sun,” “Flying Home,” “Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop!” among them. Hampton helped lead the development of R&B though he remained in the jazz camp, while he was equally at home in swing or bop settings. Hampton retained the exuberance of a young man until a stroke slowed him, though he continued to play for a time afterward. Lionel Hampton died at the age of ninety-four in 2002.

The eleven tracks in this collection were compiled from various broadcasts originating around the U.S. in 1948. “Jay Bird” is notable for featuring a young Betty Carter scatting up a storm in this energetic bop vehicle, along with brief features of baritone saxophonist Ben Kynard and trumpeter Leo Shepherd, with the leader stealing the show at the end. The exciting workout of Dizzy Gillespie’s “Bebop” features trumpeters Benny Bailey and the obscure alto saxophonist Johnny Board. Billie Holiday is featured in the lush treatment of “I Cover the Waterfront,” with her regular pianist Bobby Tucker taking over and an unidentified clarinetist prominent behind her. Teddy Buckner is the fiery trumpeter in “Satchmo’s Blues,” a salute to Louis Armstrong. Fats Navarro is heard on muted trumpet in Charles Mingus’ unusual arrangement of Tadd Dameron’s “Hot House” with Mingus also taking a chorus and pianist Milt Buckner humorously detouring into “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” followed by Hampton. The vibraphonist’s “Adam Blew His Hat” is a jump blues that focusing on the section work of the brass and reeds, along with solos by tenor saxophonist Jimmy Sparrow and high note theatrics by Navarro. “Calling Dr. Mancuso” has an exotic air and a gruff baritone solo by Kynard. Hampton’s “Brant Inn Boogie” is a swinging dance number and marks one of the earliest recorded guitar solos by Wes Montgomery. The R&B hit “Good Rockin’ Tonight” is a showcase for vocalist Wynonie Harris. The greasy “Dues in Blues” is reminiscent of Duke Ellington’s early 1930s compositions, with John Sparrow’s gritty tenor sax and Al Grey’s mellow trombone prominent, followed by some Cat Anderson-like trumpet squealing. “Beulah’s Boogie” is on similar plane with many of Hampton’s boogie-woogie compositions, he is likely playing the two finger piano line initially before switching to vibes. It’s a shame that Lionel Hampton’s big band wasn’t better documented, due largely in part to the edict of Musician’s Union boss James J. Petrillo, who prevented a lot of great music from being recorded throughout much of the 1940s.

 

 

 

 
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