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Flying Home

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Album Review

One of myriad Lionel Hampton releases titled in honor of his signature performance, this particular Flying Home is a relatively obscure live effort recorded in 1969. Hamp's in full-on crowd-pleaser mode here, adapting contemporary material and rhythms to create a lively, soulful sound that dovetails nicely with his warm vibes. The band — guitarist Billy Mackel, bassist Lawrence Burgan, pianist John Sprull, Jr., saxophonists Pete Yellin and Charles McLinden, trumpeter Wallace Davenport, and drummer Kenneth Bolds — is loose and lively, shifting effortlessly between standards both old ("Stardust") and new ("Yesterday"). It's the kind of performance that boils the blood of jazz purists, but the groove is irresistible.


Born: 20 April 1909 in Louisville, KY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Lionel Hampton was the first jazz vibraphonist and was one of the jazz giants beginning in the mid-'30s. He has achieved the difficult feat of being musically open-minded (even recording "Giant Steps") without changing his basic swing style. Hamp started out as a drummer, playing with the Chicago Defender Newsboys' Band as a youth. His original idol was Jimmy Bertrand, a '20s drummer who occasionally played xylophone. Hampton played on the West Coast with such groups as Curtis Mosby's Blue Blowers,...
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