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Customer Discussions > Jazz forum

Hampton Hawes

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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 18, 2008 2:18:49 PM PDT
Hampton Hawes is yet another pianist that didn't get his dues, but he has always been a favourite of mine. Unlike most pianists who are usually influenced by other pianists, Hamp claimed it was Charlie Parker that influenced him the most. It was Lester Keonig's 'Contemporay' label that put him on the map, but he eventually fell foul of drugs and was off the scene and in prison, until pardoned by President Kennedy.

When Hamp started to record again it was noticeable that he style had undergone certain changes, although it was still unmistakeably him. His playing become a little more introspective, and one wonders whether he was influenced by Bill Evans, but he never lost his ability to swing.

Hamp left behind some good records, all of which are worth re-evaluating, and his life was starkly documented in a book called 'Raise Up of Me'

I would be interested to have your thoughts on Hampton Hawes, as well as observations about his recordings.

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2008 6:12:40 PM PDT
Well you already know mine opinion. Hampton Hawes is my favorite along with Horace Silver but as a trio pianist or solo I like him more than Horace. Just my likes. I am slowly getting everything I can by him as a leader or a sideman. It all goes into one folder on the computer, this is the only artist I have done this with, The folder is called "The Paws of Hampton Hawes". I think that says it all

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2008 6:49:50 PM PDT
Simon says:
Oh yes, gotta love Hampton Hawes ;) Swing tremendous ! I own and take much pleasure in listening to his Trio vol. 1 + 2 (a killer one-two punch), as well as the great For Real !!! with Harold Land, Scott LaFaro and Frank Butler.

In reply to an earlier post on May 19, 2008 2:48:08 AM PDT
Slow of me, but I only discovered yesterday a CD by Hamp that I didn't know existed called 'Something Special' Not so easy to come by I'm told, but I am working on it!

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2008 5:53:25 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 21, 2008 5:18:16 PM PDT
Neuromancer says:
I fell in love with Hamp's playing when I was still a kid. He's unmistakable. I had all of his records and was overjoyed when I found out he was going to be released from prison - this was in '63. I couldn't wait for his first recording after his release. When "The Green Leaves of Summer" came out I remember coming back from the record store (remember those) unbelievably excited in anticipation over what I was about to hear. There was the beautiful green cover with Hamp looking youthful and in fine health. I was not disappointed.
I played that record over and over again, hearing more depth and beauty each time around. I read in Downbeat that he was playing at Shelly's Manne Hole in L.A. (I was living in Milwaukee, Wis). One night I stayed up late and called the club long distance, I could hear Hamp playing in the background - they told me when he would be on break. I waited and called back again and asked to speak to him. To my astonishment (I was just a kid and he was my hero) he got on the phone. We spoke for about 10 minutes and I told him in great detail why I loved his playing, how much I got out of it, and how happy I was that he had returned. He sounded so human and bright and somewhat surprized to hear from a kid across country. He asked me for my address. A couple of weeks later I received an autographed picture of Hamp along with a wonderful letter, with beautiful penmanship, about 2 pages where he told me how good it was to be back and how much he looked forward to continuing his career. He was extremely kind and he asked about me and my other tastes in music. I wish I still had that letter, but I don't. Hampton Hawes was one of the great jazz pianists of all time - you hear pure joy and creativity in his playing. He had a very rough life ("Raise Up Off Me" is my favorite jazz autobiography) - things didn't go that well for him in later years - not the way he hoped - by the time he came back on the scene things were changing, The Beatles had landed and a whole era in jazz was coming to an end. But new people are still discovering his music and feeling the great spirit he offered to us all.

In reply to an earlier post on May 21, 2008 2:41:02 AM PDT
Joel S. Schneider

Your post was a joy to read, and we are definately on the same wavelength in our appreciation of Hamp's piano playing, and what a joy for you to get to speak to him.

I well remember the release of 'The Green Leaves of Summer'. I was in a record shop, and friendly with the guy who ran it. I noticed the LP sleeve in the rack, was aware that this was Hamp's first record for sometime, but not having heard it, didn't fully realise that subtle changes had taken place in his playing. The proprietor was more perceptive, and said 'don't listen to the record here, take it home play it overnight, and if you don't like it by morning, bring it back, or just bring in the money'.
I dont have to tell you the result.

'Raise Up off Me' is sad, but not without humour, and also worth getting is the Hampton Hawes discography by Roger Hunter and Mike Davis, which also contains tributes from fellow musicians. There is a photo in there taken at Randi Hulton's place in Oslo, where he stayed whilst she set up gigs for him. When he arrived there, he was knocked out by the fact that Randi was out, and she had left a note on the door, with key under mat, saying 'Let yourself in there's food in the fridge, back soon'.
I don't think they had met before.

I wrote to Randi, asking if I could buy a copy of the photo of Hamp playing piano in her home, and she sent one by return. No payment, just a request that I send her a blank video tape, as they were very expensive in Scandinavia. Randi Hulton writes about Hamp and other American jazz musicians who stayed at her place in her book 'Born under the Sign of Jazz'

Thank you for awakening these memories.

In reply to an earlier post on May 21, 2008 7:04:52 AM PDT
Joel and Kenneth

Those were two wonderful life experiences. Thank you. I hope to see more things like that. I copied both of them signed your names as authors and sent them to my kids so they can see how things were back then. I think you know that I am writing my expierences from back then and sending them to my kids. It's wonderful to see the confirmation of how those great artists treated us back then. Thank you both.
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Discussion in:  Jazz forum
Participants:  4
Total posts:  7
Initial post:  May 18, 2008
Latest post:  May 21, 2008

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