Lionel Hampton traversed a century of jazz. He was born in 1908 and remained active until he died in 2002, not only being a part of every jazz age – swing, dance halls, bebop – but also giving the vibraphone its letters of nobility while writing vital chapters of the music. In the early Thirties with Louis Armstrong he recorded the first vibraphone solo in jazz history before joining Benny Goodman’s trio with Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa. At the same time, he recorded with small groups led by Johnny Hodges, Cootie Williams, Harry James, Dizzy Gillespie or Benny Carter, and then created his own band in 1940. He turned it into one of the most famous jazz groups of the Forties and Fifties. This multi-talented musician – showman, vibes player, drummer and pianist – incarnated jazz for seven whole decades. The titles here date from his most creative and original period, when in September ’53, and April & September ’54, he recorded these eleven titles with Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown and Buddy Rich. This high-tension alliance with a peerless leader created music that makes this album an unavoidable concentrate of jazz history.
The history of music shows us that different kinds and forms follow each other. And that the latest trend overshadows the one that came before it. Today it's difficult to say exactly which trend dominates, as there are so many music currents that overlap and intersect. Mainstream exists no longer. Yet one thing is certain: each music form is built on the music that precedes it. There would be no jazz without classical music, no rock without blues, no rock without jazz, no rap without soul music, no sampling without the riffs of either soul or rock… and therefore, inside each genre you find different chapters in the history of music. And that is why it is so important to understand their origins: they shed the light that is necessary for an understanding of the music born every day.
The richness of jazz lies at the origin of so much music today that it is essential to discover this creative wealth. The Essential Works of Masters of Jazz bring to light those 20th century creations that still exert an influence on the majority of musicians today — whether they are aware of it or not.
The Essential Works of Masters of Jazz gather the fundamental creations of the music of today.