During 1937-1940, Lionel Hampton led a series of exciting small-group swing dates featuring all-stars drawn from a variety of jazz orchestras. This reissue is one of the strongest. The first four songs alone have Hampton heading a group that includes altoist Benny Carter; tenors Coleman Hawkins, Chu Berry, and Ben Webster; and a 22-year old trumpeter named Dizzy Gillespie (who takes a solo on "Hot Mallets"). Also featured along the way are trumpeters Henry "Red" Allen and Ziggy Elman, trombonist J.C. Higginbotham, altoist Earl Bostic, and the Nat King Cole Trio. Three songs (including a classic version of "Dinah") feature Coleman Hawkins and (on trumpet) Benny Carter. This highly recommended set has more than its share of gems.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow