[Dixielandjazz] Re: Hampton's New Orleans Send-off

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet@earthlink.net
Mon, 09 Sep 2002 09:09:45 -0400

Thanks,Bill. I don't really know the answers to your questions, but here is my
opinion about them.

1. Why a N.O. funeral?  Lionel Hampton was a beautiful cat. His music was surely
Jazz. Not quite New Orleans, Not quite Swing,  Not quite modern etc., etc.  But
he knew where his roots were, and he encouraged New Orleans Jazz Musicians until
the day he died. Also, remember that he got one of his many musical breaks early
on, with the Louis Armstrong Band. The Gully Low Band, which followed his coffin,
is an example of his influence on younger New Orleans Musicians. What better way
for him to go out than with a New Orleans Funeral of a mile or so along the
streets of New York City? Also I suspect, like me, he asked in his will for a
N.O. Funeral.

2. Why Marsalis?  Wynton Marsalis is the most visible jazz musician in the world.
He is trying to pull Jazz back to its New Orleans Roots with the Lincoln Center
Jazz Band and several small groups, as well as various jazz camps and classes
with younger musicians around the USA.  He takes a lot of heat on all sides for
his efforts. From OKOMers who dislike him, to the avant garde jazz elite who
dislike him. Pity,  because he does more for jazz and OKOM than anyone else in
the world and he has a larger audience, and more monetary backing than any other
jazz player in the world. He fits the New Orleans funeral  perfectly.

3) Don't think Hamp played the Cotton Club, however the Cotton Club is a jazz
icon, more so than the Apollo and that's probably why they started there. A more
"jazzy" site than the Apollo.

As an aside, watching Hamp was like watching Louis Armstrong. I saw him several
times in New York City in the 1950s when he had his big band at the Starlight
Roof of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. It was a a high energy, swinging performance
each time. Like Louis, Hamp was a consummate performer who left the audience
tapping toes, humming, and smiling broadly. Too bad there aren't more JAZZ
players like them around these days.

Steve Barbone

Bill Haesler wrote:

> Dear Steve,
> Thank you for (once again) keeping us aliens up-to-date with jazz in the New
> York Times.
> I was even anticipating the Hampton funeral report and had already promised to
> send it to a mate, knowing that you would not lets us down.
> The funeral report rises several questions.
> Why a New Orleans type funeral?
> Why Mr Marsalis?
> Did Hamp ever play at the New York Cotton Club?
> The Apollo,  yes.
> Kind regards,
> Bill.