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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Soft Vibes Soaring Strings - Lionel Hampton

On Green Dolphin Street (Jack Pleis)
Soft Vibes Soaring Strings
Lionel Hampton
Produced by Teo Macero
Songs conducted and arranged by either Teo Marceo or Jack Pleis
Cover photo by Scott Hyde
Columbia CS 8461
1961

From the back cover: Hamp's new vibraphonic excursions into form and instrumentation have always been interesting and dynamic, never without logic – often complexly logical – intention. Take his Golden Vibes (CL 1304, CS 8110, Stereo), for instance. Here, the musicians were divided between rhythm and reeds. The most memorable work-outs, probably, on that record were The Nearness Of You and The High And The Mighty, with Hampton caressing his vibes, and then heating them near to the melting-point.

From October 9, 1961 Billboard: Here's a lushly orchestrated package of melodic mood music with a tasteful jazz flavor. Blending his standout vibe solo work with sweet strings, Hampton provides rich, listenable instrumental treatment of "Deep Purple," "Once In A While," "Ruby." and other dreamy oldies.

The arrangements are not "cutting edge" by1961 standards, although the arrangement on The Blues I Got Comin' Tomorrow does including a early 60s "thumping" bass effect which causes this track to sound "out-of-place" on the album. I'm glad the arrangers did not included additional 60s "groove". As is, this is one if the better "lush-strings" albums I've listened to. The strings blend nicely with Hampton's vibes and the "light Hampton jazz" touches help keep the sound fresh for the period and today as I enjoyed playing the set twice through on a fine sunny autumn day.

Deep Purple
Stairway To The Stars
Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me
Over The Rainbow
Once In A While
Gone Again
Star Eyes
Laura
On Green Dolphin Street
The Blues I Got Comin' Tomorrow
Ruby

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