Lionel Hampton & The Golden Men of Jazz

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Lionel Hampton
Lionel Hampton & The Golden Men of Jazz
Geneon Entertainment

A document of interest from Hamp's evidently very successful '93 European tour features his as-billed "Golden Men of Jazz octet. The soloist close-ups put the viewer beyond being in the front row - it's as if you were literally hovering right in front of each these eight legends! In addition to the great collective playing, each musician was allotted a Hamp-less and horn section-less feature. You see and hear trumpeter/flugelhornist Clark Terry's sweaty puffed out cheeks (and manicured fingers) via his bluesy lyrical interpretations ("God Bless The Child ); trombonist Al Grey's classic plungered trombone ("Turn Me Loose ); Harry "Sweets (not "Sweats as incorrectly credited) Edison's delicate muted trumpet (on Clifford Brown's "Paradise ); and tenor saxophonist Benny Golson's ever-breathy warm delivery ("I Remember Clifford featuring a breath-taking unaccompanied cadenza). The surprise uncredited feature performer is a very young Ingrid Jensen (trumpet) on one of the encores - "Hey Baba Rebob - certainly holding her own in midst of this jazz history for a solo.

The mix of superb shots and use of camera angles range from close-ups to pan outs with excellent use and editing of transitional fade-ins from one camera to the next, maintaining a forward momentum and flow - an ideal video to this classic music.

Panama Francis' drums (particularly his cymbals) are a bit far in front of the mix, but otherwise this is both an excellent audio and visual document that catches every groan, grunt and holler from Hamp, not to mention the sturdy-as-ever bass lines of the recently departed ex-Ellington alum Jimmy Woode (see and hear Terry's "Cool Vibes ). Unlike some of his final performances, Hamp is still not only vibrant but his ever-musical swing on vibes as well as drums and vocals is magnificently displayed. Though Hamp would die less than a decade later, perhaps even sadder upon viewing this, is that only Terry, Golson and pianist Junior Mance remain as surviving members.

Track listing: Hamp (Lionel Hampton); Cool Vibes (Clark Terry); Lester Leaps In (Lester Young); God Bless the Child (B. Holliday); Turn Me Loose (Al Grey); Paradise (Clifford Brown); How High the Moon (Morgan Lewis); I Remember Clifford (Benny Golson); Drum on In (Al Grey); Lover (Dave Brubeck); Seven Come Eleven (Benny Goodman); Hey Baba Rebob (Lionel Hampton); What a Wonderful World (Weiss-Douglass)

Personnel: Lionel Hampton: Vibraphone, Drums, Vocals; Clark Terry: Flugelhorn, Trumpet; Harry "Sweets" Edison: Trumpet; Al Grey: Trombone; Benny Golson-Saxophone; Junior Mance: Piano; Jimmy Woode: Bass; Panama Francis: Drums

Run Time: 99min

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