JJ 02/82: Chick Corea – Lionel Hampton: Live At Midem

Forty years ago, Mark Gardner was pleasantly surprised by a cross-generation pairing typical of festivals in those days. First published in Jazz Journal February 1982


These bright festival offerings pair two leaders born more than a generation apart but in harmony artistically. Hampton and Corea blend surprisingly well and a compelling musical conversation between them on Sea Breeze is spoiled only by Hamp’s propensity for loud grunting.

On John Coltrane’s Moment’s Notice, at a suitably bright tempo, Chick leads off with a hard driving solo, and Hamp keeps the temperature up in his segment. Alas, the identities of the bassist and drummer are not disclosed; the brass parts, which don’t disrupt the performances, were overdubbed in a studio at a later date.

An over-theatrical vocal by Gayle Moran is mainly interesting on ac­count of the supporting accom­paniment by Corea. Chick’s Spanish-tinged Fiesta solo piece has some interesting parts, but it seems to be a largely academic ex­ercise. You certainly couldn’t say that about the lively jam blues I Ain’t Mad At You which finds the two co-leaders collaborating fruitfully, Hamp taking his turn at the piano and fashioning one of his quirky vocals.

It is really the first two tracks which provide the more telling and memorable music of two kindred spirits from different eras.

Sea Breeze; Moment’s Notice; Come Rain Or Come Shine (17.46) – Fiesta Piano Solo; I Ain’t Mad At You (17.30)
Lionel Hampton (vb/p/v); Chick Corea (p); Al Vizzutti (t); Ron Moss (tb); unidentified (b), (d); Gayle Moran (v). Paris,   22/1/78 & Midem Festival, Cannes.
(Kingdom Jazz Gate 7005)