Since Hampton's big band started in the late '20s and endured for decades beyond, this collection cannot be comprehensive. But in the mid-'30s to late '40s, they were in their prime and a force to be reckoned with. So this slice of history is a decent introduction for those not familiar with the drummer and vibists' mix of unflappable swing, layered charts and friendly jive. Of course you get two obligatory versions of "Flying Home," classics "Air Mail Special," "Blow Top Blues," and "Red Top," goof tunes like "Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop!," the ultimate heart stopper "Midnight Sun," and lesser known but potent jam numbers "Cobb's Idea" and "Hamp's Got a Duke." It's a good start toward learning about one of the more important musical and sociological icons of America.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos