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

SWR Big Band

Slide Hampton

Jazz Matinee

Hanssler CD 93.048

    1. Peanut Butter and Honey
    2. A Frame for the Blues
    3. Lament for Booker
    4. Do You Believe
    5. My Funny Valentine
    6. Blues for My Father
    7. A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square/A House is Not a Home
    8. Cottontail

Slide Hampton plays Trombone and he wrote all the arrangements played with the excellent Stuttgart based SWR Big Band.

Slide Hampton is one of the ‘giants’ of jazz, he has played in the bands of Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Art Blakey, Barry Harris, Max Roach, Maynard Ferguson and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. When Dizzy died he led the United Nations Orchestra which Dizzy formed on several tours. He is also a superbly talented arranger/composer who really understands the art of writing music for big bands.

This album which was recorded in 1997, is classic modern big band music, the SWR band is excellent and they make a superb job of playing the very challenging arrangements, that Slide has written for the very best of big bands to play. Listening to his own solos it is obvious that he was very comfortable playing in this band.

Peanut Butter and Honey gets things off to a very good start at a bright tempo. There are good solos from Pete Weniger (tenor), Marc Godfroid (trombone), Karl Farrent (trumpet), Klaus Wagenleiter (piano), as well as Slide himself on trombone. A Frame for the Blues was originally written for the Maynard Ferguson Band, as you would expect therefore, it has some very demanding high note work for the trumpets, but they cope with it very well. The last time I heard this piece was when the Carnegie Hall Big band played Slide’s arrangement and they had Jon Faddis on trumpet! Lament for Booker was written as an obituary for trumpeter Booker Little who had played in Slide’s band in 1965 when he died, Both Slide and Klaus Wagenleiter solo with much feeling on this one. Do You Believe features Karl Farrent and Peter Weniger again and the fine arrangement of my Funny Valentine has some more excellent trombone from Slide.

Blues for My Father features Slide and the bands regular bone players Marc Godfroid, Ernst Hutter, Ian Cumming and Georg Maus. A Nightingale sang and A House is Not a Home, is a beautifully played ballad feature for Slide. The Ellington composition Cottontail features an extended saxophone chase with Bernd Rabe, Peter Weniger, Klaus Graf, Andreas Maile and Rainer Heute, before Slide wraps it all up with the whole band swinging away in the background.

This is first class big band jazz and I hope that hanssler have many more albums like it, if you like big bands I wholeheartedly recommend this album to you.


Don Mather

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