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Hampton Hawes

Hampton Hawes was among the finest jazz pianists from the 1950s, a fixture around the Los Angeles picture who also brought his own interpretations towards the dominant Bud Powell design. In the middle- to past due ’40s, he used Sonny Criss, Dexter Gordon, and Wardell Grey, amongst others on Central Avenue. He was with Howard McGhee’s music group (1950-1951), used Shorty Rogers as well as the Lighthouse All-Stars, offered in the Military (1952-1954), and led trios within the L.A. region, documenting many albums for Modern. Caught for heroin ownership in 1958, Hawes spent five years in jail until he was pardoned by Chief executive Kennedy. He led trios for the rest of his existence, using electrical piano (which disturbed his longtime followers) for an interval in the first to middle-’70s, but came back to acoustic piano before dying from a stroke in 1977. Hampton Hawes’ memoirs, Increase Up Off Me (1974), are both frank and unforgettable, & most of his information (for Xanadu, Prestige, Savoy, Modern, Dark Lion, and Independence) are available.

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