In 1977, Lionel Hampton organized a series of recording sessions under the rubric Who's Who in Jazz, which became the name of the record company that released the material. This 70-minute, 12-track compilation album draws tracks from six of those releases: Lionel Hampton Presents Buddy Rich (21006); Lionel Hampton Presents Gerry Mulligan (21007); Who's Who in Jazz Presents Lionel Hampton (21008); Lionel Hampton Presents Teddy Wilson (21009); Lionel Hampton with Dexter Gordon (21011); and Lionel Hampton (21017). As the titles suggest, Hampton was not the leader on all the albums, though he does perform on all the tracks. Nevertheless, titular leaders such as Rich, Mulligan, and Wilson, plus notable sidemen like Gordon, Hank Jones, and Bucky Pizzarelli get considerable solo time on a series of jazz standards including "Take the 'A' Train," "Lullaby of Birdland," and "Stompin' at the Savoy." The Who's Who in Jazz dates were impromptu, but spirited blowing sessions by talented veterans, and that is reflected in this sampler. Of course, the title The Best of Lionel Hampton could mislead record buyers to think this album contains a wider range of material than it does.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann