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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Crazy Rhythm - Lionel Hampton

Night And Day
Crazy Rhythm
Lionel Hampton
Recorded: Paris, France March 18, 1955
Custom EmArcy MG 36034
A Product of Mercury Records Corporation


Lionel Hampton - Vibraphones
Sacha Distel - Guitar
Rene Urtreger - Piano
MacKae - Drums
Guy Pederson - Bass
Maurice Meunier - Clarinette and Tenor Sax
Bernard Hullin - Trumpet
William Boucaya - Bariton Sax
Dave Amram - French Horn
Benny Bailey - Trumpet
Nat Adderley - Trumpet

From the back cover: More than a decade has elapsed since General Eisenhower's forces landed on the Normandy beachhead. It might be said that no comparable invasion of France's shores took place until the advancing hordes of General Lionel Hampton descended on this terrain for the first time in the fall of 1953.

Hamp's success overseas has already become legendary. On his second tour, in the fall and winter of 1954-55, he spread his swinging wings to encompass the hitherto jazz-arid land of Israel in addition to most of the European continent. His success was, to put it mildly, unprecedented. In France he took his band to provincial towns which, though they had seldom if ever been capable of supporting a concert by a visiting American attraction, turned out en masse to accord Hamp the kind of reception that probably nobody since the above mentioned liberating troops had enjoyed.

Even more extraordinary was the booking of the Hampton band into the Olympia, a famous Parisian music hall completely unaccustomed to entertainment of this type. Hamp's European impresario was assured that such an undertaking, in a spot that had devoted itself almost exclusively to typical music hall acts, was destined to meet with a catastrophic failure. One prominent jazz personality assured Lionel that if he had to be cancelled out at the end of the first week, an effort would be made to find other work enabling him to fill in the lost time.

So what happened? So Lionel Hampton broke every existing record at the Olympia, playing there for three weeks. He grossed nine million francs the first week, ten the second, eleven the third, and if the hall had not already had another attraction booked, he could have stayed for a least three weeks more.

The records in this LP were made after Hamp's triumphant tour had ended. While the band was playing its final engagement at Lille, Sonny Parker, Hamp's blues singer was taken seriously ill. Most of the band sailed for New York, while Lionel and his wife went to Paris, hoping to be able to take Sonny home with them. As it turned out, this proved to be impossible (though Sonny has since recovered), but the day before Hamp sailed he took part in a record session that produced what are undoubtedly the best sides he has made in France.

The idea behind this session was to give a group of young French musicians an opportunity to record in Hamp's distinguished company. As Hamp himself expressed it: "These French boys are really picking up hard, studying to compete with the Americans. They are really crazy about modern jazz in France now, and I was amazed to find so much great new talent around."

Crazy Rhythm
Night And Day
Red Ribbon
A La French

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