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Posts Tagged ‘Lionel Hampton’

Died On This Date (November 25, 2013) Chico Hamilton / Jazz Legend

Posted by themusicsover on November 25, 2013

Foreststorn “Chico” Hamilton
September 20, 1921 – November 25, 2013

chico-hamiltonChico Hamilton was an influential American jazz drummer who helped define the West Coast cool jazz style of the 1950s.  Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Hamilton played in the same high school band as future greats, Charles Mingus and Dexter Gordon before going on to play with the likes of Lionel Hampton, T-Bone Walker, and Gerry Mulligan.  In 1948, he was hired to tour with Lena Horne with whom he performed for over six years, thus establishing himself as one of the era’s top sidemen.  In 1955, he recorded his first album under his own name and continued to do so more than 60 times throughout the rest of his career.  Hamilton also appeared as a drummer in the film Sweet Smell of Success and others.  During the ’60s, he scored numerous movies and television programs.  In 1987, he co-founded the jazz department at New School University.  Chico Hamilton was 92 when he passed away on November 25, 2013.

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Died On This Date (February 4, 2013) Donald Byrd / Jazz Great

Posted by themusicsover on February 4, 2013

Donald Byrd
December 9, 1932 – February 4, 2013

Photo by William Claxton

Photo by William Claxton

Donald Byrd was an influential jazz trumpeter who successfully brought jazz into R&B, funk, and later hip hop.  Born in Detroit, Michigan, Byrd was proficient at his instrument at a young age.  In fact, he performed with Lionel Hampton before graduating from high school.  After serving in the United States Air Force where he played in the band, Byrd earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music. While pursuing his master’s in New York City, he was hired by Art Blakey to play in his Jazz Messengers.  After leaving Blakey in 1956, Byrd played with some of the greatest names jazz has ever known.  That list includes Eric Dolphy, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, and Thelonious Monk.  During the ’70s, Byrd steered his horn toward fusion and R&B.  Although he had been recording influential albums for Blue Note Records as far back as 1959, it wasn’t until 1973’s Black Byrd that he delivered what would become the label’s biggest selling album.  He continued to release best sellers for many years to come.  Byrd was also an educator, having taught at Rutgers, NYU, and Howard University, to name a few.  In all, Byrd earned three Master’s degrees, a Doctorate and law degree.  During the ’90s, Byrd collaborated with hip hop great, Guru of Gang Starr fame on the latter’s Jazzmatazz Vol. 1 which was one of the first albums to back rap with live jazz musicians  and give it a hip hop production.  The landmark album was followed by a second volume that also featured Byrd.  He also contributed to the evolution of hip hop through the use of sampling.  Pieces of his music can be heard in cuts by the likes of A Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy, and Naughty By Nature.  Donald Byrd was 80 when he passed away on February 4, 2013.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

Thanks to Harold Lepidus from Bob Dylan Examiner for the assist.

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Died On This Date (January 5, 1979) Charles Mingus / Jazz Icon

Posted by themusicsover on January 5, 2012

Charles Mingus
April 22, 1922 – January 5, 1979

Charles Mingus was a universally respected composer, bandleader and pioneering jazz bassists.  Though hard to categorize, Mingus’ music drew heavily from hard bop and free jazz.  As a composer, Mingus knew few equals, with many compositions considered too difficult to play by even the best of players.  Throughout his career, Mingus played with the likes of Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Bud Powell.   Mingus was extraordinarily prolific, with one decade beginning during the ’60s seeing over 30 new albums alone.  During his later years, Mingus suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease, forcing him to give up playing the bass.  On January 5, 1979, Charles Mingus died of Lou Gehrig’s disease at the age of 56.

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Mingus Ah Um - 50th Anniversary - Charles Mingus

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Died On This Date (July 17, 2011) Gil Bernal / Respected L.A. Jazz Musician

Posted by themusicsover on July 17, 2011

Gil Bernal
February 4, 1931 – July 17, 2011

Gil Bernal was an esteemed jazz saxophonist and vocalist who, over a career that spanned some 60 years, became one of L.A.’s most in-demand session player, and played with a laundry list of the world’s greatest jazz musicians.  Born in the Watts section of Los Angeles, Bernal grew up with future jazz greats Big Jay McNeely and Charles Mingus.  He learned to play the sax as a youngster, and by the time he was in high school, he was playing local neighborhood parties and dances.  And not long after graduating high school, Bernal was touring as part of Lionel Hampton’s band which at the time, included Little Jimmy Scott and Quincy Jones.  He went on to form his own band which included Shelley Mann and Shorty Rogers. As an in-demand session player, Bernal played some of the most iconic sax solos on records by the likes of the Coasters, Ray Charles, Big Mama Thornton, and Duane Eddy.  He also played in Spike Jones’ band for several years.  And if that weren’t enough, Bernal could hold his own as a soulful singer as well.  In 1967, his “The Eyes Of Love,” from the film Banning, was nominated for an Academy Award.  And many of his other records, like “Can You Love A Poor Boy” and “To Make A Big Man Cry” are highly coveted by fans of Northern Soul. In recent years, Bernal was hand-picked by Ry Cooder to work with the Buena Vista Social Club as well as on Cooder’s 2005 release, Chavez Ravine.  On July 17, 2011, Gil Bernal died of congestive heart failure.  He was 80.



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Died On This Date (August 31, 2002) Lionel Hampton / Jazz Legend

Posted by themusicsover on August 31, 2010

Lionel Hampton
April 20, 1908 – August 31, 2002

Although he started his career as a drummer in the late ’20s, Lionel Hampton went on to become one of jazz’s premier vibraphonists, playing with Benny Goodman, Buddy Rich, Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong and Quincy Jones to name just a few. By the early ’40s, Hampton was fronting his own group, the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, who would become one of the most popular big bands of the ’40s and ’50s.  Over the years, his band would feature several performers who achieved their own fame.  That list includes Dinah Washington, Charles Mingus, and Wes Montgomery.  Hampton continued to perform and record through the ’80s, but a stroke in 1991 lead to his retirement.  He died of congestive heart failure at the age of 94.

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The Lionel Hampton Quintet - Lionel Hampton Quintet

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