Lionel Hampton / April 20, 1908 - Aug 31, 2002

The great jazz vibraphonist & popular bandleader Lionel Hampton came out of Chicago and was a kit drummer before switching to a newly created instrument, the vibraphone, of which Hamp became the instrument's first star, his first gig on it being with Louie Armstrong in 1930.

In the late '30s he played in the Benny Goodman Orchestra (one of the few racially integrated ensembles of the time) and Quartet (Hamp, BG, Teddy Wilson, Gene Krupa) before starting his own orchestra in 1940. That band became one of the most popular bands of the '40s and '50s, playing jazz, R&B and pop. It functioned as training ground for several great musicians, including Charles Mingus, Johnny Griffin, Wes Montgomery and more.

Hamp toured the world, made some TV appearances and was hugely popular through the '50s. In the '70s he founded his own record label and continued playing into the '90s until a stroke disabled him. He was involved in political causes and was a thirty-third degree Freemason. He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetary, right next to Miles Davis and Duke Ellington.

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published