Lionel Hampton

AlbumImg
AlbumImg

Midnight Sun

These recordings by the Lionel Hampton orchestra in 1946-7 are quite dated, but if you don’t let that put you off you’ll discover endless memorable moments. Lots of stars turn up in their early days, such as Johnny Griffin and Mingus (who contributes the avant-garde ‘Mingus Fingers’, which stands out like a sore thumb among the other tracks), but what makes it all really special is the presence of tenorist Arnett Cobb, the toughest of the tough and in his absolute prime: his entrance on ‘Airmail special’, a declamatory snort of a note that slides away to nowhere, and which roughly translates as ‘shut up and listen to me now’, is unforgettable.