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
- Flying Home
- Je Ne Sais Pas
- On the Sunny Side of he Street
- April in Paris
- Don’t Be that way
- These Foolish Things
- The way You Look Tonight
- 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.