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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Milestones of a Jazz Legend

Intense Media 600290



CD 1

Hamp & Getz

1. Cherokee

2. BALLAD MEDLEY: Tenderly/Autumn in New York/East of the Sun (West of the Moon)/I Can't Get Started

3. Louise

4. Jumpin' at the Woodside

5. Gladys

Jam Session in Paris

6. Voice of the North

7. I Cover the Waterfront

8. Zebu

9. All the Things You Are

CD 2

The Complete 1953 Paris Session

1. September in the Rain

2. Free Press Oui

3. Always

4. Walking At the Trocadero

5. Real Crazy

6. More Crazy

7. More and More Crazy

8. Completely Crazy

9. I Only Have Eyes for You

10. Blue Panassie

CD 3

Apollo Hall Concert 1954

1. How High the Moon

2. Stardust

3. Lover Man

4. Midnight Sun

5. Love Is Here To Stay

6. The Nearness of You

7. Vibe Boogie

8. Flying Home

Lionel Hampton with the Just Jazz All Stars

9. Perdido

10. That's My Desire

11. Central Ave. Breakdown

CD 4

Lionel Hampton with the Just Jazz All Stars

1. Kaba's Blues

2. Hamp's Boogie Woogie

3. Flying Home

Lionel Hampton a l’Olympia

4. Patricia's Boogie

5. Blues for Sacha

6. Where or When

7. Perdido

8. Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop

9. Blues One

10. Flying at the Olympia

11. Memories of You

12. Halleluja

13. Paulette's Boogie

14. Panama

15. One O'Clock Jump

CD 5

The Lionel Hampton – Art Tatum – Buddy Rich Trio

1. What Is This Thing Called Love?

2. I'll Never Be the Same

3. Makin' Whoopee

4. Hallelujah

5. Perdido

6. More Than You Know

7. How High the Moon

Lionel Hampton and his French New Sound Vol. 1

8. Voice of the North

9. A La French

10. Crazy Rhythm

11. Zebu

CD 6

Lionel Hampton and his French New Sound Vol. 2

1. All the Things You Are

2. I Cover the Waterfront

3. Red Ribbon

4. Night and Day

Jivin’ the Vibes

5. I Know That You Know

6. Drum Stomp

7. Muskrat Ramble

8. Baby Won't You Please Come Home

9. Piano Stomp

10. Jivin' the Vibes

11. High Society

12. It Don't Mean a Thing

13. Shoe Shiners Drag

14. I'm in the Mood for Swing

15. The Object of My Affections

16. Buzzin' Round with the Bee

CD 7

Lionel Hampton and his All Stars

1. Don't Be That Way

2. These Foolish Things

3. Moonglow

4. Dinah

5. It's Only a Paper Moon

6. The Way You Look Tonight

Lionel Hampton Plays Love Songs

7. Love for Sale

8. Stardust

9. I Can't Get Started

10. Willow Weep for Me

CD 8

Lionel Hampton Plays Drums, Vibes, Piano

1. Just One of Those Things

2. Thoughts of Thelma (Lazy Thoughts)

3. The Man I Love

4. One Step from Heaven

5. Darn That Dream

6. Stardust

7. Tracking Problem

8. Lullaby of Birdland

9. Blues for Stephen

10. And the Angels Sing

11. Our Love Is Here To Stay

12. I Know That You Know

Open House

13. Sweethearts on Parade

14. Memories of You

15. Gin for Christmas

16. Any Time at All

17. Hot Mallets

18. You're My Ideal

19. I Surrender, Dear

20. After You've Gone

21. One Sweet Letter from You

22. Rock Hill Special

23. Open House

CD 9

Hamp’s Big Band

1. Flying Home

2. Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop

3. Hamp's Boogie Woogie

4. Kidney Stew

5. Hamp's Mambo

6. Air Mail Special

7. Big Brass

8. Red Top

9. Night Train

10. Elaine & Daffy

11. Cutter's Corner

12. Le Chat Noir

The Fabulous Lionel Hampton

13. Undecided

14. Lionel Choo-Choo

15. Romeo's Gone Now

16. Time for Lyons

17. What's Your Hurry?

18. Look! Four Hands

CD 10

Lionel Hampton at Malibu Beach

1. Flying Home

2. June Moon

3. Autumn

4. Starry Night

5. Out Of Gas

6. Short Of Breath

Many Splendoured Vibes

7. Three Coins in the Fountain

8. Where Are You

9. I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)

10. Hi-Fly

11. Answer Me, My Love

12. Like Someone In Love

13. The Song from Moulin Rouge

14. Love Is a Many Splendored Thing

15. Spring Is Here

16. You Are Cruel

17. One Note Samba

18. I'll Be Seeing You

This boxed set is both a cornucopia and a curate’s egg. Fans of Lionel Hampton will revel in the riches of this set, which crams nearly 20 LPs onto ten CDs in cardboard sleeves. Some of the albums are among Hamp’s finest, while others are in the forgettable arena.

Thankfully we start on a high: Hamp & Getz. Lionel may seem a diametrical opposite to Stan Getz: the showman versus the introvert. Yet they both have the ability to play fast, inventively and swinging, with a liking for the odd quotation. Hamp seems to inject extra punch into Getz’s playing, especially in Gladys, which rises from one excitement to another, with Getz honking away extrovertly. Hamp plays with a kind of stream of consciousness: one musical quotation suggesting another. And he attempts things on the vibes which I have never heard any other vibist try. Like Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel is in danger of being underrated because of his showmanship and humour, but he deserves much higher acclaim, as many tracks in this collection prove.

Jam Session in Paris lists the same quintet as on Hamp & Getz but fails to mention the other horns I can distinctly hear. I suspect the real personnel is the one listed for the second CD: The Complete 1953 Paris Session. The personnel listings in this box are either incorrect or missing, so I have not dared to give them here. This second CD opens with Hamp alone at the vibes before launching into September in the Rain, accompanied simply by bass and guitar. Lionel’s long-time guitarist Billy Mackel follows Hamp’s lead almost telepathically.

The third CD – Apollo Hall Concert 1954 - is one of Hamp’s finest live recordings. I have already reviewed it in these pages, so suffice it to say that Stardust is one of his best-ever performances, a tune he obviously loved and recorded several times. Halfway through he doubles the tempo, while the rhythm section keeps to the slower speed: very effective. Lionel Hampton with the Just Jazz All Stars is another masterly concert recording, including sprightly trumpet from Charlie Shavers. Central Avenue Breakdown is the first example in this box of Lionel’s two-fingered piano-playing as well as his drumming.

The fourth CD contains the rest of the Just Jazz concert plus a big-band show at the Olympia in Paris. Once we reach this disc, there seem to be rather too many blues and boogies, some of which are crowd-rousers, accompanied by shouts of glee from Hamp. I prefer him improvising on standards, such as tracks 11 and 12. Introducing the band, Gene Norman says that Hamp “is most famous for his antics”, and this might apply to some of the tracks on this disc but other tracks show that Lionel had much more to offer.

The fifth CD includes one of the classic LPs produced by Norman Granz, featuring Hamp with Art Tatum and Buddy Rich. It shows that Tatum could be a busy but not excessive accompanist, fitting in well with Lionel. Makin’ Whoopee lets Tatum share duets with Buddy Rich. Later, Rich does fragmentary breaks against contributions from the other two players. How High The Moon gives Rich the chance to let loose in a splendid drum solo. Four tracks of Lionel Hampton and His French New Sound complete the fifth CD, and the LP is completed on the next disc. It contains valuable contributions from trumpeter Benny Bailey and pianist René Urtreger, as well as some scintillating vibes solos. The last tracks of this CD are labelled “Jivin’ the Vibes (1957)” but they are actually cuts from the marvellous sessions that Hamp led in the late 1930s. These recordings could boast such great names as Benny Carter, Johnny Hodges and Ziggy Elman.

The seventh CD comprises “Lionel Hampton and his All Stars” and “Lionel Hampton Plays Love Songs”. Both are dated as 1957, which is almost certainly wrong, as Don’t Be That Way sounds like a 1938 recording, which had Cootie Williams and Johnny Hodges among the personnel, even though they are not listed. These Foolish Things includes some excellent solos. Stardust gives Lionel less solo space than the Apollo version but Oscar Peterson gets more to himself.

The eighth CD doesn’t bother to list the personnel. Lionel Hampton Plays Drums, Vibes, Piano emphasises Hamp’s versatility but omits to mention that he also does easy-going vocals, as he does on this LP. I have reviewed the album on this website before. Open House contains more of those magical late-thirties cuts, including a fine trumpet solo on Any Time At All by Harry James.

I have also reviewed Hamp’s Big Band before – the first dozen tracks on the ninth CD. As I said then, “The music is loud, energetic, and almost crosses the line from jazz into rhythm-and-blues”. Hamp plays marimba as well as vibes on The Fabulous Lionel Hampton.

The last CD contains Lionel Hampton at Malibu Beach and Many Splendoured Vibes. The former is a bit of a mess: a fuzzy recording with some incomplete tracks and tunes disguised under other titles (e.g. Stardust listed as June Moon). When I bought it as an LP years ago, I surmised that it might be a cut-down version of another album, or just a few random tracks thrown together without much care. Starry Night sounds suspiciously like How High The Moon. Most tracks are vibes solos, although Short of Breath is a boogie-woogie duet at two pianos. The second LP was one of several that Hamp recorded of current pop hits mixed with jazz standards. The performances are almost “easy listening”, complete with Latin-American percussion even when it is unsuitable, as in Answer Me and Like Someone in Love. The Song From Moulin Rouge is not really right for Hampton.

Despite its drawbacks (sloppy editing, lack of personnel listings, incorrect dates, etc.) this boxed set is well worth having if you are a Hampton fan or just want to explore some of his output. It is especially worth buying if you can get it at a bargain price, which in some places can be achieved for just over a pound a disc. And if you are not yet a fan, it may win you over with Lionel’s enthusiasm, inventiveness, swing and witty delivery – salted with quotations from many other tunes.

Tony Augarde

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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