Fandom

Music Wiki

Lionel Hampton

17,439pages on
this wiki
Add New Page
Comments0 Share

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.

Lionel Leo Hampton (April 20, 1908 – August 31, 2002) was an American jazz vibraphonistpianistpercussionistbandleader and actor. Along with Red Norvo, Hampton was one of the first jazz vibraphone players. Hampton ranks among the great names in jazz history, having worked with a who's who of jazz musicians, from Benny Goodman and Buddy Rich to Charlie Parker and Quincy Jones. In 1992, he was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.

Biography[edit]Edit

Early life[edit]Edit

Lionel Hampton was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1908, and was raised by his grandmother. Shortly after he was born, he and his mother moved to her hometown Birmingham, Alabama.[1][2][3] He spent his early childhood in KenoshaWisconsin before he and his family moved to ChicagoIllinois in 1916. As a youth, Hampton was a member of the Bud Billiken Club, an alternative to the Boy Scouts of America, which was off limits because of racial segregation.[4] During the 1920s—while still a teenager—Hampton took xylophonelessons from Jimmy Bertrand and started playing drums.[5] Hampton was raised Roman Catholic, and started out playing fife and drum at the Holy Rosary Academy near Chicago.[6][7]

Early career[edit]Edit

Lionel Hampton began his career playing drums for the Chicago Defender Newsboys' Band (led by Major N. Clark Smith) while still a teenager in Chicago. He moved to California in 1927 or 1928, playing drums for the Dixieland Blues-Blowers. He made his recording debut with The Quality Serenaders led by Paul Howard, then left for Culver City and drummed for the Les Hite band at Sebastian's Cotton Club. One of his trademarks as a drummer was his ability to do stunts with multiple pairs of sticks such as twirling and juggling without missing a beat.[8] During this period he began practicing on the vibraphone. In 1930 Louis Armstrong came to California and hired the Les Hite band, asking Hampton if he would play vibes on two songs. So began his career as a vibraphonist, popularizing the use of the instrument in the process.[9] Invented ten years earlier, the vibraphone is essentially a xylophone with metal resonators equipped with electric-powered fans that that added vibrato.[10]

While working with the Les Hite band, Hampton also occasionally did some performing with Nat Shilkret and his orchestra. During the early 1930s he studied music at the University of Southern California. In 1934 he led his own orchestra, and then appeared in the Bing Crosby film Pennies From Heaven (1936) alongside Louis Armstrong (wearing a mask in a scene while playing drums).[11]

With Benny Goodman[edit]Edit

As far as I'm concerned, what he did in those days—and they were hard days in 1937—made it possible for Negroes to have their chance in baseball and other fields.

Lionel Hampton on Benny Goodman[12]

Also in November 1936,[13] the Benny Goodman Orchestra came to Los Angeles to play the Palomar Ballroom. When John Hammond brought Goodman to see Hampton perform, Goodman invited him to join his trio, which thus became the celebrated Benny Goodman Quartet with Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa completing the lineup. The Trio and Quartet were among the first racially integrated jazz groups to perform before audiences,[14][15] and were a leading small-group of the day.

Lionel Hampton Orchestra[edit]Edit

[1][2]Lionel Hampton at the Aquarium, New York, c.June 1946 (photograph:William Gottlieb)

While Hampton worked for Goodman in New York, he recorded with several different small groups known as the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, as well as assorted small groups within the Goodman band. In 1940 Hampton left the Goodman organization under amicable circumstances to form his own big band.[16]

Hampton's orchestra became popular during the 1940s and early 1950s. His third recording with them in 1942 produced a classic version of "Flying Home", featuring a solo by Illinois Jacquet that anticipated rhythm & blues. Although Hampton first recorded "Flying Home" under his own name with a small group in 1940 for Victor, the best and most famous version is the big band version recorded for Decca on May 26, 1942 in a new arrangement by Hampton's pianist Milt Buckner.[17] The selection became very popular, and so in 1944 Hampton recorded "Flying Home, Number Two" featuring Arnett Cobb. The song went on to become the theme song for all three men. Guitarist Billy Mackel first joined Hampton in 1944, and would perform and record with him almost continuously through the late 1970s.[18] In 1947 he performed "Stardust" at a "Just Jazz" concert for producer Gene Norman, also featuring Charlie Shavers and Slam Stewart; ther recording was issued by Norman's label GNP Crescendo.

From the mid-1940s until the early 1950s, Hampton led a lively rhythm & blues band whose Decca Records recordings included numerous young performers who later achieved fame. They included bassist Charles Mingus, saxophonist Johnny Griffin, guitarist Wes Montgomery, vocalist Dinah Washington and keyboardist Milt Buckner. Other noteworthy band members were trumpeters Dizzy GillespieCat AndersonKenny Dorham, and Snooky Young; trombonist Jimmy Cleveland, and saxophonists Illinois Jacquet and Jerome Richardson.

The Hampton orchestra that toured Europe in 1953 included Clifford BrownGigi GryceAnthony OrtegaMonk MontgomeryGeorge WallingtonArt FarmerQuincy Jones, and singer Annie Ross. Hampton continued to record with small groups and jam sessions during the 1940s and 1950s, with Oscar PetersonBuddy DeFranco, and others. In 1955, while in California working on The Benny Goodman Story he recorded with Stan Getz and made two albums with Art Tatum for Norman Granz as well as with his own big band.

Hampton performed with Louis Armstrong and Italian singer Lara Saint Paul at the 1968 Sanremo Music Festival in Italy. The performance created a sensation with Italian audiences, as it broke into a real jazz session.[19] That same year, Hampton received a Papal Medal from Pope Paul VI.

Later career[edit]Edit

[3][4]Lionel Hampton during a concert in Aachen (Germany) on May 19, 1977

During the 1960s, Hampton's groups were in decline; he was still performing what had succeeded for him earlier in his career. He did not fare much better in the 1970s, though he recorded actively for his Who's Who in Jazz record label, which he founded in 1977/1978.[20][21]

Beginning in February 1984, Hampton and his band played at the University of Idaho's annual jazz festival, which was renamed the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival the following year. In 1987 the UI's school of music was renamed for Hampton, the first university music school named for a jazz musician.

Hampton remained active until a stroke in Paris in 1991 led to a collapse on stage. That incident, combined with years of chronic arthritis, forced him to cut back drastically on performances. However, he did play at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in 2001 shortly before his death.[22][23][24]

Personal life[edit]Edit

On November 11, 1936, in Yuma, Arizona, Lionel Hampton married Gladys Riddle (c. 1910-1971).[25] Gladys was Lionel's business manager throughout much of his career. Many musicians recall that Lionel ran the music and Gladys ran the business.

During the 1950s he had a strong interest in Judaism and raised money for Israel. In 1953 he composed a King David suite and performed it in Israel with the Boston Pops Orchestra. Later in life Hampton became a Christian Scientist.[26] Hampton was a Thirty-third degree Prince Hall freemason in New York, also.[27] In January 1997, his apartment caught fire and destroyed his awards and belongings; Hampton escaped uninjured.[28]

[5][6]President George W. Bush honors Lionel Hampton during a ceremony recognizing Black Music Month in theEast Room of the White House on June 30, 2001.

Lionel Hampton died from congestive heart failure at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York City, on 31 August 2002. He was later interred at the Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York. His funeral was held on September 7, 2002 and featured a performance by Wynton Marsalis and David Ostwald's Gully Low Jazz Band at Riverside Church in Manhattan; the procession began at The Cotton Club in Harlem.[29][30]

Charity[edit]Edit

Hampton was deeply involved in the construction of various public housing projects, and founded the Lionel Hampton Development Corporation. Construction began with the Lionel Hampton Houses in Harlem, New York in the 1960s, with the help of then Republican governor Nelson Rockefeller. Hampton's wife—Gladys Hampton—also was very involved in construction of a housing project in her name—the Gladys Hampton Houses. Gladys died in 1971. In the 1980s, Hampton built another housing project called Hampton Hills in Newark, New Jersey.

Hampton was a staunch Republican and served as a delegate to several Republican National Conventions.[31] He served as Vice-Chairman of the New York Republican County Committee for some years[32] and also was a member of the New York City Human Rights Commission.[33] Hampton donated almost $300,000 to Republican campaigns and committees throughout his lifetime.[34]

Awards[edit]Edit

Discography[edit]Edit

Year Album Notes Label
1937–39 Benny Goodman -The Complete RCA Victor Small Group Recordings along with Teddy Wilson, appearing as sideman with Benny Goodman RCA Records
1937–39 Hot Mallets, Vol. 1 appearances by Cootie WilliamsJohnny HodgesHarry JamesBenny CarterChu BerryRex StewartDizzy GillespieColeman HawkinsBen WebsterCharlie Christian Bluebird Records
1937–39 The Jumpin Jive, Vol. 2 Bluebird Records
1938 The Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert appearance as sideman for Benny Goodman Columbia Records
1939–40 Tempo and Swing appearances by Ben WebsterColeman HawkinsNat "King" Cole and Helen Forrest Bluebird Records
1944 Star Dust the famous "Just Jazz" jam session Verve Records
1947 with the Just Jazz All Stars Charlie ShaversWillie Smith, Corky Corcoran, Milt BucknerSlam Stewart, Jackie Mills, Lee Young GNP Crescendo/Vogue 78s/London Records 1972 transfer
1953–54 The Lionel Hampton Quintet with DeFranco and Peterson. Includes a 17 minute jam on "Flyin Home". There is also a 5CD box of the complete Verve recordings of the quartets and quintets with Peterson, as well as a number of other compilations and selections. Verve Records
1955 Hamp and Getz Verve Records
1958 Golden Vibes with a reed quintet Columbia Records
1958 Lionel Audio Fidelity
1960 Silver Vibes with a Trombones And Rhythms (Trombone Quartet) Columbia Records
1963 Benny Goodman Together Again! reunion with Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson & Gene Krupa Columbia Records
1963 You Better Know It!!! with Clark TerryBen WebsterHank JonesMilt HintonOsie Johnson Impulse! Records
1972 Please Sunrise Brunswick Record Corporation
1979 Live In Emmen/Holland Timeless Muse
1988 Mostly Blues Jazz Heritage Society
1991 Live at the Blue Note jamming with old friends including trombonist Al Grey Columbia Records
1995 For the Love of Music featuring Norman Brown, Ron Carter, Roy Haynes, Chaka Khan, Tito Puente, Joshua Redman, Dianne Reeves, Wallace Roney, Patrice Rushen, Grover Washington Jr., and Stevie Wonder Motown Record Company
Compilations
Year Album Notes Label
37–40 Swing Classics - Lionel Hampton and His Jazz Groups Recordings from 1937-1940 Reissued 1961 RCA Victor LPM-2318
39–56 Greatest Hits Selections from above records RCA Victor
42–63 Hamp! - GRP/Decca
37–63 The Lionel Hampton Story Selections from all records and eras above Proper

Filmography[edit]Edit

Year Movie Role Director Genre
1933 Girl Without A Room himself Ralph Murphy Comedy
1936 Pennies From Heaven himself Norman Z. McLeod Comedy/Musical
1937 Hollywood Hotel himself Busby Berkeley Musical/Romance
1938 For Auld Lang Syne himself ? Documentary
1948 A Song Is Born himself Howard Hawks Comedy/Musical
1949 Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra himself Will Cowan Music
1955 Musik, Musik and nur Musik himself Ernst Matray Comedy
1955 The Benny Goodman Story himself Valentine Davies Drama
1957 Mister Rock and Roll himself Charles S. Dubin Drama/Musical
1980 But Then She's Betty Carter himself Michelle Parkerson Documentary

Also on Fandom

Random Wiki