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This Is Hampton Hawes, Vol. 2 - The Trio

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Album Review

One of the best of the hard bop piano players in the West Coast jazz scene, Hampton Hawes made a splash with a series of impressive trio records cut during the latter half of the '50s. Hawes sprung from Bud Powell's bebop innovations and soon showed equal panache with both brisk swingers and romantic ballads. After coming up though Los Angeles bands led by Shorty Rogers and Howard McGhee and playing with other West Coast bebop stars like Sonny Criss, Dexter Gordon, and Wardell Gray, Hawes hooked up with bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Chuck Thompson for several fresh and accomplished titles on the Contemporary label. This early release from 1955 finds the trio coming up with their usual mix of originals and standards. Highlights include fine readings of "Stella by Starlight" and "You and the Night and the Music," as well a breakneck cover of Charlie Parker's "Steeplechase." Hawes shows off some writing muscle on his "Blues for Jacque," while Mitchell and Thompson come up with the album closer "Section Blues." Topped off with entertaining and informative liner notes by Ralph Gleason, this Hampton Hawes date would certainly make good company for any other top jazz piano trio records in your collection.

Biography

Born: November 13, 1928 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s

Hampton Hawes was one of the finest jazz pianists of the 1950s, a fixture on the Los Angeles scene who brought his own interpretations to the dominant Bud Powell style. In the mid- to late '40s, he played with Sonny Criss, Dexter Gordon, and Wardell Gray, among others on Central Avenue. He was with Howard McGhee's band (1950-1951), played with Shorty Rogers and the Lighthouse All-Stars, served in the Army (1952-1954), and then led trios in the L.A. area, recording many albums for Contemporary. Arrested...
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This Is Hampton Hawes, Vol. 2 - The Trio, Hampton Hawes Trio
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