Lionel Hampton / Lionel Hampton & His Orchestra

Live at the Metropole Cafe, New York City

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Although Lionel Hampton is heard on these live dates at the head of a big band, the vibraphonist takes nearly all of the solo space on the 11 selections included on this CD. Pinnoccio James has two vocals and tenor saxophonist Andrew McGhee stretches out on "Flying Home," but otherwise this is very much a Hampton showcase. Even on the ten minutes-plus of "Blues for Gertie," it is virtually all Hamp. Fortunately, the vibraphonist is in exuberant and hard-swinging form, so his renditions of "After You've Gone," "How High the Moon" and some basic originals are worth hearing. The backup band includes trumpeter Virgil Jones, altoist Bobby Plater and sometimes painist Roland Hanna and baritonist Pepper Adams.

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