Beckapedia: Lionel Hampton, jazz legend

Beckapedia: Lionel Hampton (Scroll to 43:42; February 7, 2021)

This one is inspired by the ever-inspiring Beckapedia on Guy Garvey's Radio 6.

"In December (2020), the Grammies gave a posthumous lifetime achievement award to Lionel Hampton, and I have to say it's long overdue considering he died almost two decades ago and during his long and industrious career, which began 30 years before the first Grammy awards were even thought of, he achieved so much on and off stage you've got to wonder what took them so long.

"Best known for his virtuoso vibraphone performances, Hamp was also a brilliant percussion player and pianist, who shared the stage with the biggest names in Jazz, including Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Dinah Washington, Betty Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Charles Mingus, Quincy Jones - the lineup is endless. Suffice to say that from 1927 until 1991, he was active at the heart of the American jazz scene and was always ready to give breaks to young musicians, as well as being ever eager to get up and swing himself."

In their obituary, the New York Times said, "In 1942, Mr. Hampton recorded one of the more influential recordings in the history of American music, ''Flying Home,'' which featured a honking and shouting solo by the tenor saxophonist Illinois Jacquet that set the emotional atmosphere for rock."

Hampton reportedly created the song in 1939 when a gig required the band to fly from Los Angeles to Atlantic City, the first time Hampton had flown. He began whistling a tune while waiting for the plane to taxi.

"In his later years, he had a music festival and jazz school named in his honour. He won a long list of awards from honorary doctorates to the national medal of the arts. He also used his success to benefit others, such as founding housing projects in Harlem and Newark and he was even given a Papal Medal by Pope Paul VI.

"In this context, a posthumous Grammy might seem like too little too late, but it's a mark of the man, that the announcement of the award brought scores of past bandmates together online to celebrate and reminisce about the man whose music united them all. And why am I telling you this? Because you need to know."


Beckapedia: Lionel Hampton (Scroll to 43:42; February 7, 2021)

Lionel Hampton, Who Put Swing In the Vibraphone, Is Dead at 94; By Peter Watrous; Sept. 1, 2002

"Flying Home" recordings -