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.
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