Album: Mostly Ballads

"Mostly Ballads" is a 1992 album by the legendary vibes gamer and bandleader, Lionel Hampton. The album was launched under the Musicmasters label and features a total of nine tracks, consisting of seven mostly ballad compositions and 2 faster-paced numbers. As the title recommends, the album highlights Hampton's ability to communicate deep emotions through his music, with a specific concentrate on the slower and more intimate aspects of jazz.

Album Overview
The album starts with the traditional ballad "Everything Must Change", originally performed by Quincy Jones. Hampton's lush vibes paired with the sophisticated piano playing of Tommy Flanagan and the subtle yet powerful rhythm section of bassist George Mraz and drummer Lewis Nash provide a mentally stirring rendition of the tune.

Continuing to captivate the listener, "Gone with the Wind" features a gentle yet enthusiastic exchange between Hampton's vibes and Flanagan's piano, emphasized by Mraz and Nash's tasteful accompaniment. The complex rhythmic intricacies of the piece display the mastery of the musicians included.

Up next is the a little more upbeat "Invitation", which sees the quartet navigating the melodic contours of the composition with professional accuracy. Hampton's solo, in particular, shows his capability to transcend the limits of the vibes, providing a special blend of bluesy phrasing and dazzling technicality.

The album's only original structure "Lionel's I-IV-V Blues" is a timeless 12-bar blues composed by Hampton himself. The song offers a modification of rate from the previous tracks, injecting a healthy dosage of swing and groove into the mix. Hampton's relentless energy is palpable throughout, with each member of the quartet contributing their own unique style to the performance.

Returning to ballad area, the quartet delivers a genuine rendition of the tune "On Green Dolphin Street". The perfectly carried out tempo modifications and vibrant contrasts permit the listener to truly value the psychological depth of the structure. Hampton's vibes and Flanagan's piano link perfectly, creating a sense of vulnerability and tenderness hardly ever heard in modern jazz.

The timeless standard "Over the Rainbow" permits Hampton to showcase his lyrical capabilities while the rhythm section shows their adeptness at enhancing the charm of a ballad without overshadowing the tune. In spite of the tune's nostalgic nature, the quartet handles to inject a sense of hope and optimism into the efficiency.

The penultimate track on the album, "Take the A Train", is a vibrant analysis of the Duke Ellington traditional, including impeccable solos from Flanagan, Mraz, and Nash. Each member of the band contributes their uniqueness, resulting in an alluring swing that propels the song forward.

In conclusion, "Mostly Ballads" uses an extensive expedition of some of the most treasured ballads in jazz, all masterfully carried out by a quartet of indisputable virtuosity. Hampton's sublime musicianship and emotional vulnerability are on full display screen throughout the album, making it an important addition to any jazz enthusiast's collection.

Artist: Lionel Hampton

Lionel Hampton Lionel Hampton, born April 20, 1908, jazz legend, vibraphonist, & bandleader from Louisville, KY. Explore his biography, quotes, and musical legacy.
More about Lionel Hampton

Other Albums by Lionel Hampton