The sixth CD in Classics' series of Lionel Hampton records documents his music during a one-year period. Hampton's big band, riding high after "Flying Home," continued to grow in popularity during this era. The vibraphonist's showmanship and his sidemen's extroverted solos generated constant excitement, as can be heard throughout these 20 selections. With the exception of Dinah Washington's lone vocal on "Blow Top Blues" and the original version of "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop," most of the selections were formerly a bit rare, including a pair of rollicking V-disc performances ("Vibe Boogie" and "Screamin' Boogie"). Hampton is heard on 14 numbers with his big band (which included such key sidemen as trumpeter Joe Morris, tenorman Arnett Cobb, the eccentric Herbie Fields on alto and clarinet, and pianist Milt Buckner), four workouts with a septet, and two tunes (including a pair of vocals) with a rhythm quartet. Bing Crosby guests on so-so versions of "Pinetop's Boogie Woogie" and "On the Sunny Side of the Street" (sounding very much out of place), but otherwise, everything works. Stirring and accessible music.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow