August 10, 2006

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Lionel Hampton, There Will Never Be Another You
Out Of Sight Music, 2006

A Place For Everyone And Everyone In Their Place Dept: somewhere out there is the world's clumsiest brain surgeon, and someone out there recently took up the mantle of world's greatest vibraphone player after Lionel Hampton passed away in 2002 at the age of 94. Recorded in 1989 (not long after he was Grammy-nominated for his Sentimental Journey LP) and mothballed until just now, this tribute CD/DVD set centers on the collaboration between Hampton and longtime foil Sylvia Bennett, a casual, understated Rosemary Clooney-like crooner whose past credits include stints with Dizzy Gillespie and Bob Hope. Target audience is mainly foxtrotters, who'll find a lot to like about Hampton's version of Cole Porter's "Just One of Those Things" for one, whereas "Bill Bailey" is done up in Anglo-Latin trappings. The whole album is a cheery mix of standards and never-before-heard originals driven by a four-piece brass section that's more Vegas than a five-dollar steak. Production by Hal Batt is big-screen and meticulously done. A-

— Eric. W. Saeger


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