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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke

Lionel Hampton Quintet
VERVE Master edition 589 100-2

This CD combines two LP’s recorded and released in 1954

Lionel Hampton – Vibraphone
Buddy DeFranco – Clarinet
Oscar Peterson – Piano
Ray brown – Bass
Buddy Rich – Drums



  1. Flying Home
  2. Je Ne Sais Pas
  3. On the Sunny Side of he Street
  4. April in Paris
  5. Don’t Be that way
  6. These Foolish Things
  7. The way You Look Tonight
  8. It’s Only a Paper Moon


On the original LP version sleeve note Norman Granz who produced these sessions said "If you like your jazz swinging, light and facile, then this is your album" and how right he was!

Considering the personnel, four are still alive and active on the music scene and Buddy Rich ran his Big Band until he died in 1987, you have to have something special to have such longevity in jazz. Lionel Hampton was as definitive on the Vibraphone as Louis Armstrong was to the Trumpet. Oscar Peterson would get my vote as jazz’s most accomplished pianist, he is not only a brilliant soloist himself, but all the other musicians on a session seem to play better when he is there to accompany them. A task he accomplishes with equal aplomb to his solo work. Ray brown is everybody’s No1 Bass player, few may have a little more technique, but nobody else provides swing and lift like he does. Buddy DeFranco embraced Be-Bop on the Clarinet something that eluded many great players including Goodman.

The first track is a 16-minute version of the Hampton/Goodman Flying Home and everyone gets a chance to solo here. DeFranco sounds more relaxed on Je Ne Sais Pas, another Hampton composition that should be played more often. The Sunny Side of the Street has everyone again in good form, the rhythm section sounds like ‘what every jazz soloist would like to have’.

April in Paris is a feature for Hamp, it is not an easy sequence to jazz on and even the great man does not sound entirely at home on this one. Don’t be that Way gives us a chance to compare DeFranco and Goodman, it is hard to come to a conclusion, I find both of them brilliant!

These Foolish Things has Hampton stating the melody followed by a nicely fluid solo from DeFranco.

The first track was recorded before Hampton arrived at the session, It’s Only a Paper Moon is taken faster than usual and used to display the perfect tone and technique of DeFranco.

VERVE have certainly done us a favour in re-releasing this music in CD form, it is certainly worthy of preservation and a good example of the Best of Jazz in 1954.


Don Mather




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