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



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LIONEL HAMPTON

Flying Home. His 48 Finest 1930-49

RETROSPECTIVE RTS 4189

 

 


CD1
1. Flying Home
2. Memories Of You
3. Stompin' At The Savoy
4. Moonglow
5. Runnin' Wild
6. Jivin' The Vibes
7. Buzzin' Around With The Bee
8. Stompology
9. On The Sunny Side Of The Street
10. Rhythm, Rhythm
11. China Stomp
12. I Know That You Know
13. Avalon
14. The Man I Love
15. Drum Stomp
16. After You've Gone
17. Ring Dem Bells
18. Don't Be That Way
19. The Blues In Your Flat . . . The Blues In My Flat
20. I'm In The Mood For Swing
21. Shoe Shiner's Drag
22. Muskrat Ramble
23. Down Home Jump
24. It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing
CD2
1. Sweethearts On Parade
2. Shufflin' At The Hollywood
3. Wizzin' The Wizz
4. The Jumpin' Jive
5. Twelfth Street Rag
6. When Lights Are Low
7. One Sweet Letter From You
8. Hot Mallets
10. Gin For Christmas
11. Dinah
12. Central Avenue Breakdown
13. Jack The Bellboy
14. Hamp's Boogie Woogie
15. Hey, Ba-Ba-Re-Bop!
16. Air Mail Special
17. Cobb's Idea
18. How High The Moon
19. Three Minutes On 52nd Street
20. Stardust (End)
21. Red Top
22. Mingus Fingers
23. Midnight Sun
24. Rag Mop

Lionel Hampton, his bands and orchestras

 

You just can't have too much Hamp. This two disc set from Retrospective charts his recordings from two decade perspective, starting in 1930 and ending in 1949. The sidemen, if that's the way to put it, offer a lexicon of the greatest of jazzmen. And the multi instrumentalist himself generates more swing in one song through one percussive finger than some musicians managed throughout their entire lives.

Of course we start with Flying Home, his signature song. And then we go back to the beginning, which is Memories of You and Louis Armstrong, and progress in strict chronological order from that point. This is something of a house style for Retrospective.

So much here is so famous, and so deservedly so, that it would be rather portentous to comment on every track. I'll just give a brief overview of what we have. We have six tracks with the Goodman quartet, of course, and stellar examples from Hampton's own little bands, haughtily called `Orchestras' in those days. Try Ziggy Elman's excellent work on Jivin' the Vibes and Gin for Christmas, to be aware of just how good he was out of the Goodman context. Or try Buster Bailey's very on-the-beat clarinet solo during Rhythm, Rhythm (based on you-know-what) and the driving tightness of that little band, which sported Johnny Hodges, Jess Stacy, John Kirby and Cozy Cole. On no account overlook Teddy Wilson's thoughtfully beautiful solo on The Man I Love and, talking of pianists, the very next track offers the less well known Clyde Hart whose playing of Drum Stop is terrific. I've always loved Hart's playing - great ideas, lyrical touch: a considerable player.

That is one of the pleasures of a set such as this - it's not all Hamp, and fortunately he gave space, wisely, to the many outstanding musicians in his bands. True, he could hog things with his marvellous vibes, his incendiary drums and his explosive one fingered piano playing. But in the main there's real pleasure to be taken in hearing, say, old timer and ex Jelly Roll sideman Omer Simeon sparkling away in New Orleanian style on Down Home Jump, alongside trumpeter Walter Fuller's bustling playing. And this only gets us up to the end of disc one!

There's just no time to mention Chu Berry's fantastic solo on Sweethearts on Parade or the examples of Hamp's Nancarrow-crazed pianism. Nor the meetings with elite Ellingtonians or the session where the front line consisted of Dizzy Gillespie (then strongly under Roy Eldridge's potent spell), Benny Carter, Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, and Chu Berry. When you listen to the Nat Cole recordings, listen to Oscar Moore's taut soloing (and Hamp's overloud and unsubtle drumming!) There's a boppish hue to the big band recording of Mingus Fingers - the bass player was in Hampton's band - but throughout there are superb vistas of players, bands, locales, set up dates, and sheer exuberance.

For those who want a handy two disc Hampton selection, this is about as good as any you'll find.

Jonathan Woolf

See also review by Tony Augarde.



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