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Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival

John Clayton
John Clayton

Celebrating the 100th birthday of Lionel Hampton (born April 20, 1908), this huge educational and artistic event hosted 10,500 student musicians and their band directors, 28,000 concertgoers and 102 professional musicians. The crowds were beyond the capacity of this University of Idaho town of 22,000. Many visitors stayed in neighboring communities and commuted to the festival. Major concerts and most workshops, clinics and master classes were on the UI campus, but some spilled over into theaters and churches in town.

Taking over this year as artistic director of the Hampton festival, bassist-composer-bandleader John Clayton made good on a promise he gave when he succeeded founding director Dr. Lynn “Doc” Skinner: Clayton expanded the massive festival, at least in its concert aspect. The Friday night performance, scheduled to end at 10:30 p.m., was so jammed with musicians that it wrapped up at 12:45 the next morning. As the clock ran on, the crowd of 5,000 dwindled. In their spirited, often hilarious set, Jon and Aria Hendricks and fellow singer Sachal Vasandani ended up saying goodnight to fewer than 300 listeners.

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