Lionel Hampton

Mostly Ballads

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As with the slightly earlier Mostly Blues CD, the title of this set is inaccurate. True, Hampton performs such ballads as "I'll Be Seeing You," "Lover Man" and "But Beautiful," but many of these songs are taken at medium tempos and this program also includes three Teo Macero originals that are definitely not ballads. The use of synthesizer on several numbers is not particularly interesting and, although trumpeter Lew Soloff contributes a few fine solos, the most rewarding numbers are the ones that focus on Hampton's highly expressive vibes; he is in fine form throughout. It's an erratic but worthy release from the vital octogenarian.

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