Lionel Hampton & Friends: Rare Recordings, Vol. 1

by: Lionel Hampton

During the mid-to-late '70s, Lionel Hampton sought to recapture the magic of his classic '30s all-star recordings with a series of albums featuring his vibes with musicians who he normally did not encounter in his travels. This particular CD draws one or two selections apiece from seven of these albums (originally on the Who's Who label), all but one from 1977. The lone exception, a version of "Stardust" from 1965, has quite a lineup (trumpeters Clark Terry and Thad Jones, trombonist J.J. Johnson, Lucky Thompson on soprano and tenor great Coleman Hawkins) and is quite listenable but does not live up to its potential. The same can be said for most of these performances which include meetings with pianists Earl Hines and Teddy Wilson, a workout with baritonist Gerry Mulligan, a version of "Cherokee" featuring Steve Marcus's soprano and drummer Buddy Rich, two selections with Dexter Gordon (who has a rare outing on soprano during "Seven Comes Eleven") and a pair of numbers from what would be bassist Charles Mingus's final recording date. Hopefully, these interesting sessions, even though they do not reach the creative heights of Hampton's earlier recordings, will eventually be reissued on CD complete and in chronological order. ~ Scott Yanow

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