Posts Tagged ‘lionel hampton’

JazzLegends Update

Monday, April 25th, 2005

“Gene Krupa: The Pictorial Life of a Jazz Legend” is now in the final proofreading stages and we hope to have word any moment from Warner Bros. Publications. One of the reasons for delay on this and several other Warners’ products is because this division of WB was just sold to the Alfred Publishing Company. When the dust settles, which should be soon, Warners/Alfred plans to resume their full slate of video/DVD productions. The good news is that in addition to our extensive work for Hudson Music, we will be doing some rather special DVD projects with Warners/Alfred, including the possibility of a commercial release, with added footage, of the famed “Championship Jazz” television pilot with Gene Krupa and The Dukes of Dixieland, now available from us on “The Champ.” 

“Lionel Hampton:King of the Vibes,” our upcoming DVD tribute to the vibes president, will be released within the coming weeks by Hudson Music, and we will also make it available here. As previously mentioned, this is the first such project devoted solely to Hamp, and features footage through seven decades of swinging. We’re proud that our narrators are mallet legend Mike Mainieri, and in the section focusing on Hamp’s drumming, the one and only Steve Smith. 

Our good colleague Paul Testa has come up with another real “find” that we will be offering here very shortly. In 1968, Benny Goodman hosted a gala that celebrated the 30th anniversary of the legendary Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert. Many of the surviving players, including Gene, were in attendance that night and there was much media coverage of it. Paul has discovered many of the interviews done for radio broadcast that night, coupled with excerpts from the Carnegie Hall Concert itself. There was also a lot of jamming that went on that evening and we hope to be able to offer that on CD as well. 

Most all of our regular visitors are aware that we are now offering all of our VHS videos on DVD, in the DVD-R format. Please keep in mind, however, that we will continue to issue everything on VHS as well as DVD. 

Those net surfers out there know very well that Google is about the number one search engine out there, and that’s probably because they are about the best. Among the great programs they offer for those who have web sites like ours is called the “Google Ad Sense” program. This program automatically generates small ads that are appropriate to the page or pages surfers are viewing. In other words, on our pages that feature Gene Krupa merchandise, you’re likely to see ads for downloadable Krupa tunes, for Krupa items on e-bay, etc. Clicking on these ads, and there are many of them on most of our pages, really do help support us. No, no one has to buy anything. Just clicking on them helps keep us going, and who knows what other great stuff you might find? 

Finally, please feel free at any time to ask us for something on CD, books, video or DVD that you might be looking for. We have many, many items that are not listed on the site and we do, by the way, have access to pretty much everything by most of the drumming greats. That includes, by the way, the famed Tony Williams project that was very briefly issued on laser disc in Japan in the 1980s. Take advantage of this and please e-mail us at 

In an interesting piece of business, we have found that the domain name––is among the most valuable of its kind in the marketplace. Indeed, it’s “the only name to have in jazz.” We are considering changing the name of this site at some juncture to (or dot org or dot biz), so if anyone out there knows anyone who would be interested in one of the great domain names of all time––let us know. 

Let us take this opportunity to thank our customers, friends and supporters for your continued kind words, encouragement, and of course, your orders. We hope, pray and trust that you will continue to keep us going. 

God bless and keep swingin’ 

Bruce Klauber

The Making of Lionel Hampton: Jazz Legend

Saturday, January 15th, 2005

For those interested in such things, the good offices of Hudson Music are located within New York city’s famed “Manhattan Center,” a concert facility and suite of production offices that has just been overrun by the Arts and Entertainment Network. The whole gigantic building is attached to another venerable New York city institution by the name of The Hotel New Yorker. That’s where I just spent three days, helping to edit the forthcoming Hudson Music DVD that bears the working title of “Lionel Hampton: Jazz Legend.” 

The New Yorker was once among the city’s hotel showplaces. Every big band played there. It’s now own and run by Ramada and caters mostly to foreign tourists, transients and even has a floor or two set aside for student housing. For those who actually read the dictionary, it’s listed in Websters under “F” for fleabag. I could swear I was bitten by two or three of them during the night. I got the sense that those fleas might have been the same ones that were there when Tex Beneke worked the joint. 

The experts will tell you that making a film–or in our case, a documentary or “performance-oriented retrospective”–is about as exciting as watching paint dry. It’s actually a bit more exciting than that, especially when one has an editor as talented as Phil Fallo (“Great Day in Harlem,” among many others) at the helm. Phil can make anything look good. Plus, we had the participation of one of the great mallet artists in history, Mike Mainieri, and a gentleman and scholar who is also the world’s greatest drummer by the name of Steve Smith. These fine people not only narrated our project, but had considerable input into the script. In line with that “considerable input” is the fact that Mr. Fallo and I needed to somehow translate everyone’s additions, corrections and opinions… to what actually appears on the screen. That’s not always easy. 

As an example, take a section about how Hamp just happened to play jazz vibes on an October, 1930, record session where the Les Hite band backed Louis Armstrong on “Memories of You.” No film exists of this, the story is long and involved, and everyone seems to have a different take on exactly what happened almost 75 years ago. Words are great, to be sure, but this isn’t a book. What do you put on the screen? Ken Burns? Where are you when we need you? I’ll take Ralph Burns at this juncture! 

Without giving away trade secrets, let’s just say that I found some vintage film of Pops and Gates together, though not from 1930, and a number of still pictures of them both. Phil Fallo worked his magic with this material, and you’d swear it was, indeed, Louis and Lionel in 1930. Ah…the magic of film. 

Fortunately, Lionel Hampton was among the most filmed and recorded of the jazz giants. That he was eminently photographable and always the showman certainly helped. In “Lionel Hampton: Jazz Legend,” we present film of Hamp in each decade from the 1930s (with the first clip emanating from 1936) to one of his final extended performances with “The Golden Men of Jazz” in 1993. Needless to say, in addition to playing vibes, Hamp plays drums, piano, jumps up on the tom-tom, and mixes it up with the likes of Benny Goodman, Teddy Wilson, Gene Krupa, Milt Buckner, Al Grey, Betty Carter, Billy Mackel, Woody Herman and many, many more. 

Lionel Hampton was an artist who, along the way, played with everyone from Armstrong and Tatum and Gene and Buddy, to Mingus and Chick Corea. And, as we say in the narration, “he swung them all.” Watch this space for release date. 

Book update: “Gene Krupa: The Pictorial Life of a Jazz Legend” (Warner Bros. Publications) will go on press shortly after some last minute proofing and design tweaking. It’s quite a package at 170-plus pages of photos and commentary, measures the size of a coffee-table book, and will come with a CD of unreleased Krupa gems. JazzLegends. com friends take note: I insisted that this be priced in the $16.95 range. When it’s released–and you’ll be among the first to know–be sure to buy early and often! Keep swingin and all my best for the New Year and beyond. 

Bruce Klauber