Hampton Hawes went through a period of inconsistency during the early '70s with his ill-advised addition of electric keyboards, but this is happily an all-acoustic live set from the Jazz Showcase in Chicago. Joined by a formidable rhythm section consisting of bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Roy Haynes, Hawes launches this second volume with an extended medley of a driving hard bop rendition of Charlie Parker's blues "Bluebird" and his own "Blue Hamp," never running out of ideas even though this track is over 26 minutes long. His interpretation of "My Funny Valentine" is initially hesitant, but packs an emotional punch as it develops. It's a shame he didn't extend his rather abbreviated performance of the lively "Carson Blues," which was evidently intended as a set closer. The only misfire of the date is his "Walking Around the Town," an original featuring Hawes' rather awkward vocals.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden