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Hampton Hawes

Who Was Hampton Hawes?

Although one rarely hears of Hampton Hawes today he was a significant presence on the jazz scene in the mid- 50s then again from the mid-60s on until his death in 1977. A direct descendant of bebop who had been variously classified as "West Coast" and "funk-jazz" or "rhythm school," Hawes transcended all these categories. He was famous for his prodigious right hand, his deep groove, his very personal playing, his profound blues conceptions, and his versatility within a mainstream context. He remained anchored in chord-change based jazz with chord changes his whole career.

A mostly self-taught musician, he matured early musically and late personally-by his own admission. His life unfolded as an impassioned story of a rise from poverty into prominence, then a fall due to a heroin addiction, which had come right out of his native culture, five years in prison and a miraculous Presidential pardon, then personal transformation and return to world-wide artistic prominence for a decade before his early death.

Origins

Hampton Hawes was born in Los Angeles, November 13, 1928. His father was a very successful pastor and his mother played piano in the church. Hampton was raised in a strict religious environment. As a child he would sit on the piano bench next to his mother and watch her play. His earliest musical influence, therefore, was gospel piano music. The street environment was not a particularly wholesome. He later reflected that most of the people he knew in his neighborhood growing up were heroin addicts.

Hawes taught himself piano as a child. His earliest musical influences were boogie-woogie, which was intensely popular in the U. S. between 1938 and 1946, Nat Cole, Fats Waller and Art Tatum. Later he came under the spell of Bud Powell, and came to play more in his style. Throughout his life he regretted that he never acquired a classical background and never became a fast music reader. Perhaps as a result his music remained intensely personal.

Growing up with music he learned by jamming with his friends. They would hang out at each other's houses and play. Fascinated with bebop, they fervently pursued it as their form of teenage rebellion against the music of their parents. Hawes regretted that his family never understood his music, never attended his performances. When he sent them his albums later on, if they liked the cover art they'd frame it and put it on the wall.

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6
Album Review

Shelly Manne & His Men: Jazz From The Pacific Northwest

Read "Jazz From The Pacific Northwest" reviewed by Pierre Giroux


Shelly Manne & His Men are presented in two iterations in never-before-released live recordings from the 1958 Monterey Jazz Festival and from a 1966 date at The Penthouse in Seattle entitled Jazz From The Pacific Northwest. In this deluxe limited edition 180-gram 2LP set, co-produced for release by the estimable Zev Feldman and Cory Weeds, the band captivated the audience with intricate melodies and vibrant improvisations driven by Manne's virtuosic drumming. The band on LP1 from ...

18
Album Review

Sonny Rollins: Go West! The Contemporary Records Albums

Read "Go West! The Contemporary Records Albums" reviewed by Richard J Salvucci


Apparently, the median age of a jazz listener is in his or her mid to late 40s. So, perhaps, the representative listener was born in the mid-1970s. Sonny Rollins first recorded in 1949. The recordings reviewed here were made in the late 1950s, well before many contemporary listeners were born. While there have been ample reissues of Rollins' work, most coincided with the still-active phase of his career. Much of his work has appeared since “Skylark" on The Next Album ...

2
Radio & Podcasts

Outstanding Hampton

Read "Outstanding Hampton" reviewed by Patrick Burnette


It's time for a deep dive, listeners, and the subject this round is underappreciated West Coast keyboard wizard Hampton Hawes. Hawes did most of his best-known recordings for Contemporary Jazz, and we'll look at a couple of releases on that storied (but also underappreciated) label, as well as a collaboration with Charles Mingus and a sample of Hampton's seventies output, when the sideburns got longer and the keyboards got plugged in. Playlist General discussion of Hampton Hawes 6:15 ...

7
Album Review

Charles Mingus: Mingus Three (Deluxe Edition)

Read "Mingus Three (Deluxe Edition)" reviewed by Chris May


The 100th anniversary of the birth of the Promethean genius Charles Mingus falls on April 22, 2022--and Rhino/Parlophone are releasing a 2 x CD edition of Mingus Three (aka Trio, Jubilee, 1957) to coincide. Disc one contains the original LP, vibrantly remastered by Dominique Brethes at Flow Mastering in London. Disc two consists of six previously unreleased outtakes, recently discovered in the Parlophone tape library and mastered by Brethers; also included are two untitled blues from the same session.

6
Album Review

Harold Land: Westward Bound!

Read "Westward Bound!" reviewed by Peter J. Hoetjes


One can't help but wonder how large the stage may have been for tenor saxophonist Harold Land had he not tethered himself to the west coast for the majority of his career. In 1954 Land moved from Santa Monica to Los Angeles and quickly earned himself a place in the immensely popular Clifford Brown/Max Roach band, beginning with the aptly named Jam Session (EmArcy, 1954). Called back to Los Angeles in 1956 by the responsibilities of being a ...

10
Album Review

Harold Land: Westward Bound!

Read "Westward Bound!" reviewed by Pierre Giroux


Until 1954 Harold Land was a relatively unknown tenor saxophonist. He experienced a surge in his standing with the release of Clifford Brown & Max Roach (Emarcy 1954) when he was part of this high-profile, but short lived, bebop quintet (1954-56). A decade later, this hard-bop player was recognized for his engaging ideas and robust tone and is the center of Westward Bound! a Reel To Real Limited Edition 180 gram 2LP gatefold release produced by Cory Weeds and Zev ...

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Profile

Hampton Hawes: Remembering a Relative

Read "Hampton Hawes: Remembering a Relative" reviewed by Allison Palmer


He was my maternal grandmother's nephew, the thin, handsome relation who grew to befriend my uncle Bob--also thin and handsome--and become a fixture of the postwar jazz scene in jny: Los Angeles. Having worked amid luminaries of the era, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, and Dexter Gordon among them, Hampton was always a fascinating topic of discussion for us. On so many occasions, I sat with my uncle, mother, and grandmother at the dining room table, remembering the rich history of ...

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Video / DVD

Backgrounder: Hampton Hawes' All Night Session!

Backgrounder: Hampton Hawes' All Night Session!

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

For me, Hampton Hawes's finest recordings were the three All Night Session! albums captured on the evening of November 12, 1956 and the early morning hours of November 13. The studio date for Contemporary Records featured Hawes (p), Jim Hall (g), Red Mitchell (b) and Bruz Freeman (d). According to Hawes in his autobiography, Raise Up Off Me: A Portrait of Hampton Hawes: “I got together a quartet, using Jim Hall on guitar. We recorded 12 tracks in one continuous ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Hampton Hawes

Jazz Musician of the Day: Hampton Hawes

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Hampton Hawes' birthday today!

Who Was Hampton Hawes? Although one rarely hears of Hampton Hawes today he was a significant presence on the jazz scene in the mid- 50s then again from the mid-60s on until his death in 1977. A direct descendant of bebop who had been variously classified as “West Coast" and “funk-jazz" or “rhythm school," Hawes transcended all these categories. He was famous for his prodigious right hand, his deep groove, his ...

1

Recording

Hampton Hawes: 'Four!'

Hampton Hawes: 'Four!'

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

By the late 1950s in Los Angeles, golf had become as vital to a jazz musician's income as a working automobile. The sport was a social meeting ground, a place to get to know musicians off the bandstand. Several of the West Coast jazz musicians I've interviewed talked about the importance of the golf course in terms of work opportunities and camaraderie. This was especially true for black musicians, who were able to build friendships with white musicians who could ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Hampton Hawes

Jazz Musician of the Day: Hampton Hawes

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Hampton Hawes' birthday today!

Who Was Hampton Hawes? Although one rarely hears of Hampton Hawes today he was a significant presence on the jazz scene in the mid- 50s then again from the mid-60s on until his death in 1977. A direct descendant of bebop who had been variously classified as “West Coast" and “funk-jazz" or “rhythm school," Hawes transcended all these categories. He was famous for his prodigious right hand, his deep groove, his ...

Interview

Chuck Israels on Hampton Hawes

Chuck Israels on Hampton Hawes

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

In May 1965, pianist Hampton Hawes recorded an album of standards with bassist Chuck Israels and drummer Donald Bailey. The album was Here and Now, an extraordinary session for the Contemporary label. The songs were recognizable to anyone picking up the album in stores, but the execution was anything by standard. Hampton, Chuck and Bailey sail into each song with fresh energy and determination to rock the canoe, so to speak. For example, Hawes and Chuck solo off each other ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Hampton Hawes

Jazz Musician of the Day: Hampton Hawes

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Hampton Hawes' birthday today!

Who Was Hampton Hawes? Although one rarely hears of Hampton Hawes today he was a significant presence on the jazz scene in the mid- 50s then again from the mid-60s on until his death in 1977. A direct descendant of bebop who had been variously classified as “West Coast" and “funk-jazz" or “rhythm school," Hawes transcended all these categories. He was famous for his prodigious right hand, his deep groove, his ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Hampton Hawes

Jazz Musician of the Day: Hampton Hawes

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Hampton Hawes' birthday today!

Who Was Hampton Hawes? Although one rarely hears of Hampton Hawes today he was a significant presence on the jazz scene in the mid- 50s then again from the mid-60s on until his death in 1977. A direct descendant of bebop who had been variously classified as “West Coast" and “funk-jazz" or “rhythm school," Hawes transcended all these categories. He was famous for his prodigious right hand, his deep groove, his ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Hampton Hawes

Jazz Musician of the Day: Hampton Hawes

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Hampton Hawes' birthday today!

Who Was Hampton Hawes? Although one rarely hears of Hampton Hawes today he was a significant presence on the jazz scene in the mid- 50s then again from the mid-60s on until his death in 1977. A direct descendant of bebop who had been variously classified as “West Coast" and “funk-jazz" or “rhythm school," Hawes transcended all these categories. He was famous for his prodigious right hand, his deep groove, his ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Hampton Hawes

Jazz Musician of the Day: Hampton Hawes

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Hampton Hawes' birthday today!

Who Was Hampton Hawes? Although one rarely hears of Hampton Hawes today he was a significant presence on the jazz scene in the mid- 50s then again from the mid-60s on until his death in 1977. A direct descendant of bebop who had been variously classified as “West Coast" and “funk-jazz" or “rhythm school," Hawes transcended all these categories. He was famous for his prodigious right hand, his deep groove, his ...

1

Recording

Hampton Hawes: All Night

Hampton Hawes: All Night

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

I've never been a huge fan of pianist Hampton Hawes. His keyboard assault on many leadership trio albums are frantic and more concerned with speed and percussive impact than harnessed intensity. The result is a jarring listen followed by a headache. Dazzling jazz pianists who skillfully held their emotional horses include Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Al Haig, Erroll Garner and Billy Taylor, to name just a few. The burner under Hawes's proverbial pan was up way too high when he ...

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