Hamp Sammich
Friday, June 8, 2012 at 7:05PM
Jennifer Mandel in jazz


Thee Perfesser came home today with a lovely surprise:  this 1953 recording on the EmArcy label (Mercury Record Corporation's jazz label - MRC - get it?) with fantastic artwork by Burt Goldblatt. 

This album was recorded during Lionel Hampton's 1953 European tour, which was -- according to the liner notes -- one of the most recorded tours at the time.  I believe that at least 4 different albums came of it, and many more sets were recorded for European labels as well. 

The 10" album contains only four songs, but Hampton's infectious energy fills up each groove to overflowing.  Featuring Mezz Mezzrow on clarinet, the band swings in the best sense of the word.  The title track, "Crazy Hamp," has our intrepid vibraphonist showing off on the drums with a mind-blowing solo.  I had no idea that Lionel Hampton could play drums, but in fact that's how he started out, drumming with Benny Goodman, among others.  The rest of the tracks, "Mezz and the Hamp," "Serenade to Nicole's Mink Coat," and "Elmar the Stock Broker" emote as much joie de vivre in the music as they do in the titles. As of this writing, we've listened to the album four times in a row. You'll come for the cover, but you'll stay for the filling.

Wine Pairing: A dry martini with two olives.

Score: $1.99 plus an extra pair of shoes to replace the ones you wore out tapping your feet.


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