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  • 1Hip (Remastered 2024)06:14
  • 2Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams (Remastered 2024)09:20
  • 3Crazeology (Little Benny) (Remastered 2024)06:43
  • 4Numbers Game (Remastered 2024)08:04
  • 5For Real (Remastered 2024)11:21
  • 6I Love You (Remastered 2024)03:59
  • Total Runtime45:41

Info for For Real! (Remastered 2024)

Hampton Hawes, For Real! was recorded in 1958 but not released on the Contemporary Records label until 1961. Featuring Hawes (piano) alongside Harold Land (tenor sax), Scott LaFaro (bass) and Frank Butler (drums) the album includes a mixture of both jazz standards and originals.

"Although For Real! was at least Hampton Hawes' 11th record as a leader, it was his first (and one of his relatively few) that included a horn player. The pianist matches quite well with the hard bop tenor of Harold Land (heard in his early prime), and the quartet outing, which also includes drummer Frank Butler, has an extra bonus in the playing of the brilliant bassist Scott LaFaro. Performing three bop standards (including "Crazeology") and three originals (two of which were co-written by Land), pianist Hawes sounds inspired by the other players and is in top form throughout the generally memorable outing." (Scott Yanow, AMG)

"A distinctive West Coast voice of bop piano, Hawes’ style is instantly recognizable for its infectious bluesy swing, and mastery of time and harmony. If his biographers are to be believed, Hawes was born with six fingers on each hand, corrected quickly by surgery. With hindsight one can only imagine the advantage of this could have conferred on a number of musical directions, and we ain’t talkin’ ukele. Horn-players like Sonny Stitt only sound like they have six fingers on each hand. Here was a case of some one who actually had six fingers, if briefly. .

Hawes gives ample space here to one of my favourite West Coast tenors, Harold Land, not a unique stylist, but a player who always punches his weight, and sounds here very at home with Hawes swing. Also present on duty, Scott LaFaro on bass , another great talent lost to music not long after in an automobile accident. Great line up completes with the excellent Frank Butler, who is also found on Curtis Counce, Elmo Hope and some Art Pepper recordings. It’s all very West Coast School – sun sand sea and blue sky – but a welcome occasional change from the darkness of New York .

Hawes was yet another victim of the war on drug users. The target of a federal undercover operation in Los Angeles in 1958, drug enforcement gambled that Hawes would inform on suppliers rather than risk a successful music career. Instead he refused to cooperate, and was sent down, handed a long stretch in Fort Worth Federal Medical Facility. After serving only part of his sentence, he was granted Executive Clemency by President Kennedy, who one must surmise was fan, however the golden years of bop had passed, Hawes career lost its momentum and never really recovered." (

Hampton Hawes, piano
Harold Land, tenor saxophone
Scott LaFaro, double bass
Frank Butler, drums

Digitally remastered

Hampton Hawes
Anyone genuinely interested in the story of Hampton Hawes should read his autobiography, Raise Up Off Me (Coward, McCann & Geoghegan), which he wrote in conjunction with Don Asher. The book is simply brilliant. Although plagued with an inflation-dominated $7.95 list price, Raise Up Off Me is quickly becoming an underground sensation and should be read by anyone who claims an interest in this music we call jazz.

Hamp’s story is phenomenal. Raised in a strict, religious environment, Hamp taught himself piano as a child. By the time he was a teenager, he was playing professionally. His enormous talent brought him into contact with great players, not the least of whom was Charlie Parker. Hamp played with Charlie, Billie Holiday, Wardell Gray, Dexter Gordon, and Art Pepper and Shorty Rogers.

Most of the people Hamp knew as a young man were heroin addicts. Hamp soon followed, although Billie did try to dissuade him. Why did he ever try it in the first place? “You see everybody going down the street in a green Buick, and you start thinking, ‘What is it with these green Buicks?’ You know, you just got to find out for yourself. Well, I found out all right. I sure did.” Hamp’s stint in the Army doing duty in the Far East furthered the addiction.

In 1955, after the Army, Hampton cut several brilliant albums for the Contemporary label in Los Angeles. His talent has always been recognized; his addiction always ruined everything.

In 1958, Hampton Hawes was in jail in Fort Worth, Texas, serving a ten-year sentence. Halfway through the term, Hamp accomplished the impossible. He applied for a presidential pardon from John F. Kennedy and got it. As Hamp says: “That man was the President, and he’s supposed to be keeping everything straight. He saw that the judge had written me onto the wrong page. I wasn’t no criminal; I was just hurting myself! JFK got me out, and I’m not hurting myself anymore.”

The road back has not been easy for Hampton. It has taken about five years to regain his position as a leader amongst jazz pianists. The Hampton Hawes trio works together on the West Coast regularly. He has had three successful albums on Prestige, the last of which was recorded at the 1973 Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

This album, Northern Windows, is Hampton’s fourth album for Prestige, and it is, without a doubt, his best work to date. David Axelrod produced the LP, which features a highly talented and very beautiful lady bassist, Carol Kaye. Hawes and Axelrod immediately hit it off. They were both raised in the same section of Los Angeles and discovered many mutual friends. But no one at the Fantasy/Prestige/Milestone studios had seen Hampton looking so good, so ebullient, so happy, as he did that day he played back the tapes of this album. In Hamp’s words: “This motherfucker is a bitch! This Axelrod is too much! This is it!’’

No doubt there will be much more to hear from Hampton Hawes, but Northern Windows is the definitive statement about how high this amazing man is.

Hampton Hawes died on May 22, 1977.

This album contains no booklet.

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