JJ 03/59: Hampton Hawes – All Night Session Vols. 1, 2 And 3

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These sixteen selections are the result of one all-night sitting – a marathon jazz session, with, we are told, no editing. It was certainly a trial of strength, both physically and emotionally for all concerned and everyone (engineers included) emerge from their ordeal with credit.

Hawes plays better than I have ever heard him play before, and seems to gain in strength as the session progresses. He plays with considerable spirit and flashes of real brilliance, his ideas (“Will You Still Be Mine”; “Groovin’ High”; “Woody’n You” etc) show virtuosity and a great technical polish.

There is not too much emotion in his methods, the ballads here never get sugary, and he places great reliance on an ability to swing at medium and fast tempos, without too many frills. I particularly like his playing of blues. The very long “Hampton’s Pulpit” sounds spontaneous from beginning to end, and both “Blues 3” and “4” show him as an improvisor of talent and taste. “Blue ‘N Boogie” is another outstanding track.

Hawes’ playing is full of fire and power, his style here being so percussive that he reminds one of Garner in places.

Hawes’ assistants at this midnight feast all combine with him exceedingly well. Hall is a talented and sensitive musician and Mitchell a solid fine-toned bassist. Bruz Freeman keeps the beat steady and was obviously the ideal drummer for the session. A unique recording session which resulted in success.
Sinclair Traill

Jordu: Groovin’ High; Takin’ Care (21 min) – Broadway; Hampton’s Pulpit (19 min)
I’ll Remember April; I Should Care; Woody’n You; Two Bass Hit (20 min) – Will You Be Mine; April In Paris; Blue ‘N Boogie (22½ min)
Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me; Blues No. 3 (18½ min) – Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea; Blues No. 4 (17 min)
Hawes (p) with Jim Hall (gtr); Red Mitchell (bs); Bruz Freeman (d). 12/11/56.
Vogue LAC 12161-2-3. 12inLPs. 38s. 3d.