Originally issued on three LPs, the music resulting from Hampton Hawes
' All Night Session!
was stereophonically recorded for the Contemporary label in Los Angeles on the night of November 12 and into the morning of November 13, 1956. This session transcended the conventions of studio production by moving steadily from one tune to the next like a live gig with no alternate takes. Here is West Coast bop at its most spontaneous and exciting. Prior to this highly successful quartet experiment, Hawes
had recorded mainly with his trio. He said that the addition of guitarist Jim Hall
opened up more rhythmic possibilities. The currents passing between Hawes
and bassist Red Mitchell
were the metabolic pulse of this group; drummer Eldridge "Bruz" Freeman
was a replacement for Chuck Thompson
, whose heroin habit had forced him out of the band earlier that year. On this night Hawes
chose to reinterpret no less than four Dizzy Gillespie
compositions, along with themes by Duke Ellington
and Duke Jordan
as well as six chestnuts from the standard jazz repertoire. But there's nothing "standardized" about this music. Like his main influence, Charlie Parker
, Hampton Hawes
was a strikingly inventive blues-based improviser; this element is strongly present throughout, particularly during five spontaneously composed Hawes
originals that materialized during this monumentally creative All Night Session!
Now, 50 years after this music was first made available to the public, the Definitive label's beautifully remastered edition should enable this to be acknowledged and appreciated as one of the truly essential jazz recordings of all time.