Last Friday evening, at a jazz venue, I said that I had no Hampton Hawes CDs and was recommended this Avid release of his famous three LP albums recorded in one sitting over night, and, imaginatively, entitled "All Night Session!" I consider myself a bit of a jazz buff but Hampton Hawes had essentially passed me by, or vice versa. Not any more. I immediately ordered this album via amazon, and since its arrival I can't stop playing it!
The three albums consist of sixteen tracks, all laid down overnight 12-13 November 1956. Most are well known tunes from the jazz canon plus three tunes credited to Hawes. Two are entitled "Blues" and I guess that these were spontaneous compositions. The piano playing is quite superb, I suppose with quite a lot of Bud Powell influence. However for me the thing that makes these albums so listenable to is the interplay with Jim Hall (gtr), Red Mitchell (bs) and drummer Bruz Freeman. Jim Hall rates high in my list of favourite guitarists in any case, but these recordings come from very early in his career and the style is different from that adopted in his work with Chico Hamilton, or Jimmy Giuffre. Jim really swings, as does Red Mitchell.
As if these three albums alone isn't enough, Avid have added 90% of a earlier album, this time a piano trio (no guitar). These tracks swing too.
Overall over a couple of hours of truly magnificent piano jazz.
As always Avid have remastered these recordings to sound marvellous, and the enclosed booklet is informative.