A great overview of the early work of LA pianist Hampton Hawes
– featuring obscure sides recorded in the years before his groundbreaking albums for Contemporary Records! The first disc in the set features live recordings from the LA scene of the early 50s – mostly recorded in 1951 and 1952 by jazz fan Bob Andrews at the Haig and the Surf Club. Despite Andrews' primitive reel to reel recorder, the sound is surprisingly strong – thanks to a boppish approach by Hawes
that makes his piano work explode onto tape – and the disc features 18 tunes, all trio numbers with Hawes
in the company of bassists Joe Mondragon and Harper Crosby, and drummers Lawrence Marable, Larry Bunker, and Shelly Manne. Titles include "Blue Bird", "Again", "I'll Remember April", "Buzzy", "Another Air Do", and "Hawes
Paws". Disc 2 features studio sessions done for the Prestige and Discovery label – again in trio format, but occasionally with interesting twists that include some great vibes by Larry Bunker, and cello by Harry Babasin. Other players include Shelly Manne, Joe Mondragon, Clarence Jones, and Lawrence Marable – and the disc features 18 more titles that include "Night & Day", "Jumpin Jacques", "Hamp's Paws", "Buzzy", "Move", "Terrible T", "Fanfare", "Thou Swell", and "I Hear Music".
(Out of print.)