Hamp: An Autobiography

Lionel Hampton, Author, James Haskins, With Warner Books $19.95 (286p) ISBN 978-0-446-71005-3
At age 81, vibraphonist Hampton, writing with Haskins, biographer of Lena Horne, Mabel Mercer et al., recalls his 60 years as a major figure in jazz history. He is a lively, entertaining narrator when describing his boyhood in Birmingham, Ala., first band dates in Chicago, his Uncle Richard's experiences in working for Al Capone and driving the car in which Bessie Smith rode to her death, the transformation of Ruth Jones to Dinah Washington, and gigs with Benny Goodman in the first mixed white-black ensembles. But in later chapters, which catalogue his accomplishments, the musician's excessive self-congratulation about his successes as a housing magnate, Republican fund-raiser and friend of George Bush detracts from the book's value as a musical chronicle. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1989
Release date: 11/01/1989
Paperback - 286 pages - 978-1-56743-019-6
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