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The Complete Lionel Hampton Quartets and Quintets with Oscar Peterson on Verve

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Album Review

Lionel Hampton did a series of quartet and quintet sessions for Verve Records in 1953 and 1954, the group featuring Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, and Buddy Rich, with either Buddy DeFranco or Herb Ellis joining in for the quintet recordings. Verve released the sessions on a batch of LPs in 1957 (King of the Vibes, Air Mail Special, Flying Home, Swingin' with Hamp) and 1958 (Lionel Hampton '58, Hallelujah Hamp, The High and the Mighty), but they are gathered together here on a five-CD set that includes a couple of previously unreleased alternate takes and includes shorter and longer versions of some songs done for single and album release. Typically of sessions produced by Verve head Norman Granz, the song list is full of classic pop standards, along with remakes of some of Hampton's better-known songs. The lineup is, of course, stellar, and Hampton and Peterson in particular spark each other on vibes and piano, interacting with seemingly endless creativity. (They even take one tune, "The High and the Mighty," by themselves.) The normally showy Rich mostly restricts himself to accompaniment (he can't help taking off during the totally improvised "Blues for Norman," but even then doesn't play all that long), while Brown provides his usual solid support. At a time when Hampton was traveling the world leading an orchestra, these recordings were a reminder that he could be at his best (as in the Benny Goodman Quartet) with a small group.

Customer Reviews

Absolutely Flows. Man you do not get better.

It seems the previous reviewers have forgotten the idea of a review - quit whining either buy it or get off the tunes.
This generous five-disc collection is a document of a time when jazz giants walked the earth. In addition to the titanic principals, vibraphone innovator Lionel Hampton and piano icon Oscar Peterson, this multitude of sessions the pair recorded for the Verve label in the 1950s also features Buddy Rich, Ray Brown, Herb Ellis, and Buddy DeFranco--a stunning display of talent.
Hampton had already been a major player since the '30s, but his style proved flexible enough to remain vital through the decades, and these tracks find him alternately flexing hyperspeed bebop chops ("Air Mail Special") and unfurling the lyrical melodicism he developed during the swing era ("These Foolish Things"). Hampton's interactions with Peterson's thoughtful, harmonically sophisticated piano work, not to mention the unerringly swinging rhythm section and the saber-toothed clarinet injections of DeFranco, is a wonder to behold, especially when presented in such a comprehensive package.
And final words...the conditions for entire pricing on the Album is probably Verve, not iTunes.


I'm discouraged that iTunes doesn't seem to be working on improving its pricing structures and availability. The problems that I was dealing with when I first encountered the site are all still firmly in place. And no progress on audiophile HD downloads. I'll listen to some of these but I'd rather have it on CD than spend $50 on the downloads.

what a shame

Here you have the choice of spending $50 or nothing. Wouldn't it be easier if we could pay a little more and buy single longer songs? Only one star, because if you're not willing to spend $50 you can't listen to anything.


Born: April 20, 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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The Complete Lionel Hampton Quartets and Quintets with Oscar Peterson on Verve, Lionel Hampton
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