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Hampton, Slidelocked

  • Jeffrey Holmes

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(b Jeanette, PA, April 21, 1932). American trombonist, composer, arranger, and educator. A rare left-handed trombonist, Hampton was already touring with his father’s band at age 12, was performing with Lionel Hampton at Carnegie Hall at age 20, and joined Maynard Ferguson’s band thereafter, penning memorable charts such as “Three Little Foxes” and “Slide’s Derangement.” His dual talents as performer and writer led to subsequent work with Art Blakey, Thad Jones-Mel Lewis, Max Roach, Dizzy Gillespie, and Woody Herman. Self-led groups over the years include the Slide Hampton Octet (which included Booker Little, Freddie Hubbard, and George Coleman), the nine trombone and rhythm section World of Trombones, and more recently his own quartet, quintet, and Slide Hampton Ultra Big Band. He spent much of the 1970s working in Europe with expatriates Benny Bailey, Dexter Gordon, and Art Farmer; the 1990s included a world tour with the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Stars, and a post as arranger and special adviser for the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band. He commands a fluid, precise, and harmonically posed playing style, while his writing is a lexicon of arranging tapestries that excel in making mid-sized ensembles sound larger than numbered, and giving like-sounding instruments distinctive musical voices. A contributor to numerous recordings, concerts, and tours by major artists over six decades, he has been honored with two Grammy Awards for arranging (...

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