25 Facts About Lionel Hampton


Lionel Leo Hampton was an American jazz vibraphonist, pianist, percussionist, and bandleader.


Lionel Hampton was born in 1908 in Louisville, Kentucky, and was raised by his mother.


Lionel Hampton spent his early childhood in Kenosha, Wisconsin, before he and his family moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1916.


Lionel Hampton was raised Catholic, and started out playing fife and drum at the Holy Rosary Academy near Chicago.


Lionel Hampton began his career playing drums for the Chicago Defender Newsboys' Band while still a teenager in Chicago.


Lionel Hampton moved to California in 1927 or 1928, playing drums for the Dixieland Blues-Blowers.


Lionel Hampton made his recording debut with The Quality Serenaders led by Paul Howard, then left for Culver City and drummed for the Les Hite band at Sebastian's Cotton Club.

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Armstrong was impressed with Lionel Hampton's playing after Lionel Hampton reproduced Armstrong's solo on the vibraphone and asked him to play behind him like that during vocal choruses.


When John Hammond brought Goodman to see Lionel Hampton perform, Goodman invited him to join his trio, which soon became the Benny Goodman Quartet with pianist Teddy Wilson and drummer Gene Krupa completing the lineup.


In 1940 Lionel Hampton left the Goodman organization under amicable circumstances to form his own big band.


Lionel Hampton's orchestra developed a high profile during the 1940s and early 1950s.


Lionel Hampton was a featured artist at numerous Cavalcade of Jazz concerts held at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles and produced by Leon Hefflin Sr.


Lionel Hampton continued to record with small groups and jam sessions during the 1940s and 1950s, with Oscar Peterson, Buddy DeFranco, and others.


Lionel Hampton performed with Louis Armstrong and Italian singer Lara Saint Paul at the 1968 Sanremo Music Festival in Italy.


That same year, Lionel Hampton received a Papal Medal from Pope Paul VI.


Lionel Hampton remained active until a stroke in Paris in 1991 led to a collapse on stage.


Lionel Hampton died from congestive heart failure at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York City, on August 31,2002.


Lionel Hampton was interred at the Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York.


Lionel Hampton's funeral was held on September 7,2002, and featured a performance by Wynton Marsalis and David Ostwald's Gully Low Jazz Band at Riverside Church in Manhattan; the procession began at The Cotton Club in Harlem.


On November 11,1936, in Yuma, Arizona, Lionel Hampton married Gladys Riddle.


Many musicians recall that Lionel Hampton ran the music and Gladys ran the business.


Lionel Hampton was a staunch Republican and served as a delegate to several Republican National Conventions.


Lionel Hampton served as vice-chairman of the New York Republican County Committee for some years and was a member of the New York City Human Rights Commission.


Lionel Hampton served as Director of Special Events for Gerald Ford's 1976 re-election campaign.


Lionel Hampton donated almost $300,000 to Republican campaigns and committees throughout his lifetime.

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