|A new CD and DVD by famed vibraphonist Lionel Hampton and chanteuse Sylvia Bennett. This new release by Out of Sight Music is interesting in that you have a glimpse at another side of Lionel Hampton, a DVD home video of the recording session and photos of Hampton on the bandstand. Hampton playing is still wonderful at this point in his life (1989). He plays lines on the big band studio tracks, and the listener is invited in to the Hampton homestead to see how the musical interpretation develops, a great opportunity. The vibe playing on Just One Of Those Things is excellent.
The studio orchestra is tight. Hampton lays down great lines on top of the mix; he lays off the beat, and picking his single note fills perfectly, adds a completely new dimension to the tunes. In an attempt to cash in on the disco craze of the time, they perform You Make My Heart Sing. There are two versions and both would be great for the discos on the high sea cruise lines.
Sylvia Bennett has a silky smooth voice and she puts a lot of feeling into the song There Will Never Be Another You. There are a few more highlight tracks where the band is cooking and Bennett feeds off that energy. The song Bill Bailey and Together are two such songs that fly from start to finish with energy galore. Hampton, playing in his home studio, actually seems distant on some tracks; the licks he plays are very laid back and are almost unnecessary in some cases, the disco tracks in particular.
Lionel Hampton started out as a drummer, he made his first recording in 1924, in 1930 he started playing the vibraphone. Over the course of his lengthy career, (Hampton passed away in August of 2002), he would work with all of the top names in the jazz world, singing, drumming, playing piano and vibes. The Lionel Hampton discography is extensive; I would estimate he recorded two hundred records as a leader or co-leader. Hampton at a live performance was at his very best. Always exciting, a showman of the highest calibre, he could always swing.
report by Paul J. Youngman KJA Jazz Advocate Oct. '06