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Lionel Hampton


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Lionel Leo Hampton (1908–2002), was a U.S. bandleader, jazz percussionist, and vibraphonist.

Hampton was born on 20th April 1908 in Louisville, Kentucky, but moved to Chicago as a child, where he began his career as a drummer. He relocated to Los Angeles to play drums in Les Hite’s band. They soon became the house band for Frank Sebastian’s New Cotton Club, a popular L.A. jazz club.

During a 1930 recording date in the NBC studios in L.A., Louis Armstrong discovered a vibraphone. He asked Hampton if he could play it. Hampton, who knew how to play the xylophone, tried it and they agreed to record a few records with Hamp on vibes. Hampton is credited with popularizing the vibraphone as a jazz instrument.

In the mid-1930s, the Benny Goodman Orchestra came to Los Angeles to play the Palomar Ballroom. John Hammond brought Goodman to see Hampton play. Goodman asked Hampton to move to New York City and join Goodman, Teddy Wilson, and Gene Krupa who’d already formed a Benny Goodman Trio within the large band - to expand into the Benny Goodman Quartet. The Trio and Quartet were among the first racially integrated bands to record and play before wide audiences; they were just as well received at Goodman’s famous 1938 Carnegie Hall concert as was the full Goodman band.


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  • ixab_

    Hey Ba!

    20 Mar 2014 Reply
  • jazzthieve

    Spotify playlist Jazz: Bebop, Cool, Swing, Vocal, Fusion, Modal, Stride, Dixieland, Third Stream, Big Band, Hard Bop

    11 May 2013 Reply
  • sweatbloodtears

    I just discovered Wizzin' The Wizz

    23 Nov 2012 Reply
  • Neue_regel_


    27 Jul 2011 Reply
  • Druid66

    He's one of the true ambassadors of elegance.

    23 Jul 2011 Reply
  • pachanka

    99,828 listeners... go Hampton! One never know's, does one?

    9 Mar 2011 Reply
  • doctorjmo

    he's good!!

    13 Nov 2010 Reply
  • Maswelle

    L.S. looking for "THE CHASE played by Lionel Hampton Maswelle

    27 Feb 2010 Reply
  • carlsten

    i really like the vibraphone

    12 Dec 2009 Reply
  • TheAbbott

    The vibraphone is a beautiful instrument.

    10 Nov 2009 Reply
  • patgoud

    I've seen him in the end of the 80s in Düsseldorf. He was so brilliant. He had so much energy - that was great.

    26 Jun 2009 Reply
  • H-VATH

    so happy

    24 Feb 2009 Reply
  • catscraddle

    Habe ihn irgendwann zwischen 1985/1990 in der Düsseldorfer Tonhalle gesehen, als fast Erwachsener in einer Phase der Annäherung zu meinem Dad. Viele Jahre später – Lionel Hampton, genauso wie mein Vater sind schon ein paar Jahre to t– habe ich mich in die Musik von Roy Ayers verliebt. Die Legende sagt, er, Roy Ayers, habe im zarten Alter von 5 Jahren seine ersten Mallets von "Hamp" bekommen. Wie dem auch sei: Beider Musik ist absolut phantastisch Marcel

    22 Dec 2008 Reply
  • LondonLouis

    This version of Flying Home seems to lack some of the drive of the original. Having said that Hampton was one of the guys who moved the Big Bands into genuinely rocking outfits. Flying Home, with (Ike Quebec's (?)) solo was one of the earliest hits which featured a squealing sax. Not rated by the cognoscenti at the time, but Hampton was in the excitement business - and, boy, did he deliver.

    6 Dec 2008 Reply
  • christaster

    This is wonderful music. On the sunny side of the streets...

    8 Nov 2008 Reply
  • yoscar

    very niceee!!!

    14 Oct 2008 Reply
  • SYL2Oh

    Figure of middle-jazz, Lionel Hampton gives his music a jubilant charactere. Showman accomplished and virtuoso percussionist, he crossed modes keeping firmly in the direction of SWING ! ! !D

    29 May 2008 Reply
  • adistu

    shout for hampton! 'man was a great artist.

    11 Oct 2007 Reply
  • RobertoNoce

    Nada tiene que ver con Lionel Hampton!

    2 Apr 2007 Reply
  • BeSp

    i'm just wondering... wasn't lionel hampton a character in the famous john sinclair series novel? ..

    1 Mar 2007 Reply
  • All 22 shouts

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