Alive & Jumping (with Milt Buckner)
By the time Lionel Hampton recorded this live album in 1978, he’d already been a professional musician for 50 years, famously playing with Benny Goodman and others as well as leading his own high-energy big bands. He teams up for this live effort with organist Milt Buckner as well as trumpeter Cat Anderson, saxophonist Eddie Chamblee, and others. Both Hampton and Buckner are irrepressible forces of nature on the bandstand, so the two are like peas in a pod here with the vibraphonist racing through melodies and his solos (check out Hampton’s dazzling work on “The Birth of the Blues/Old Man River”!) and Buckner mostly supporting. (A wonderful exception is Buckner's lead on the Hampton classic “Hamp’s Boogie Woogie.”) Other highlights are the classic R&B of “Funky Mama” (where the band members each get solo), a slow take on “Midnight Sun," and of course “Flying Home,” another bedrock standard in the vibraphonist’s live repertoire.