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




Crotchet
Bargain price
Bluebirdís best
LIONEL HAMPTON
Ring dem bells
Bluebird 09026 63966 2

 

 


  1. Hamptonís Stomp
  2. On the Sunny Side of the Street
  3. Stompology
  4. China Stomp
  5. Iím Confessiní
  6. Piano Stomp
  7. After Youíve Gone
  8. Ring Dem Bells
  9. Donít Be That Way
  10. Shoe Shinerís Drag
  11. Memories of You
  12. When Lights are Low
  13. Iíve Found a New Baby
  14. Shades of Jade
  15. Jack the Bellboy
  16. Flying Home

These tracks have Hamp playing with various groups from the period 1937 to 1940.

In the sleeve note it says that Lionel Hampton is the king of the vibes, lyrical, percussive authoritative, the Boss. To me he was even more that that nobody ever managed to swing or create such excitement as Hamp, I saw him at a JATP concert in the 1920ís and the atmosphere was electric from the minute he appeared on stage.

Considering that the latest of these tracks is 62 old, the music is remarkably pleasant. When you cast your eye over the sidemen involved it is hardly surprising! It is probably because everyone, at the time, would sooner be playing in his bands than in the band opposite. Just a few of the names, Jess Stacey, Buster Bailey, Cozy Coles

Johnny Hodges, Jonah Jones Ziggy Elman, Cootie Williams Sonny Greer

Harry James, Benny Carter, Harry Carney, Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster are all here and so are Mezz Mezzrow and Vido Musso on Clarinet!

After Youíve Gone starts slowly and then Ziggy Elman leads it into double tempo, Ring Dem Bells turns out to be a Duke Ellington tune, complete with Hamp vocal and a classic Cootie Williams chorus before Hamp takes it out against a band riff.

Donít Be That Way predates the Goodman version and is played at a slower tempo, much more suited to this particular tune. Shoe Shinerís Drag is an old tune composed by Jelly Roll Morton, there are solos from Harry James, Herchel Evans and an unknown Clarinet player. Memories of You has a melody statement from Lawrence Brown on Trombone, the middle eight being played by Rex Stewart, there is also an excellent chorus from Hamp on this one.

When Lights are Low brings a change of company Dizzy Gillespie is on trumpet for this one and Chu Berry, Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster on Tenor, although only Berry solos. Iíve Found a New Baby has some slick piano from Clyde Hart who certainly lacked nothing in technique, but is that Hamp on piano? Jack the Bellboy has Hamp in great form working with the Nat ĎKingí Cole Trio, very tasty as you would expect and something I have not heard before. Finally Flying Home, a Lionel Hampton classic, which was always part of his concert programme, although often taken at a much faster tempo than this one.

This is good vintage Hamp who died in 2000 after a career unparalleled in jazz history, the music he plays here still sounds good today. Congratulations to Bluebird on an interesting selection.

Don Mather

 



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