Lionel Hampton: 1947

The big news here is the release of Hampton’s bop date, four hitherto difficult-to-find 1947 septet tracks with trumpeter Benny Bailey, tenor sax-man John Board, bassist Charlie Mingus, and pianist Dodo Marmarosa. These are excellent selections on which Hampton contributes laudable solos. He fits in just fine with the younger guys, as his style not only anticipated bop, but he’d been influenced by the boppers. Dig his many-note playing; Hampton could work with anyone in those days. Bailey improvises powerfully and already has gone a long way towards developing the distinctive style that would antici-pate the work of post-bop trumpeters in the ’50s. The forgotten Lane displays admirable chops while contributing complex spots reminiscent of the work of Dexter Gordon and James Moody. Marmarosa, one of the great bop pianists, impresses with his fleet, daring work.

The rest of the disc is uneven but often interesting. It contains some schmaltzy vocal performances, but also Mingus’ early third stream chart “Mingus Fingers.” Other selections have swing, bop and early R&B characteristics.