Legend Returns To Community

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Hampton was honored by President Bush at the White House when he was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, the highest honor bestowed by this nation in jazz. This recent concert, featured a rousing performance during which he was accompanied by Justin Robinson, Joe Tranchina, Eric Lemon, and Bruce Cox

This season's Jazz Jam Series, sponsored by NYC's LaGuardia College, ended on an upbeat last weekend with a concert by living legend Slide Hampton. Earlier this year, Hampton was honored by President Bush at the White House when he was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, the highest honor bestowed by this nation in jazz. This recent concert, staged at the school's Performing arts center, featured a rousing performance by the Grammy-winning trombonist during which he was accompanied by Justin Robinson on alto saxophone, Joe Tranchina on acoustic piano, professor/program director Eric Lemon on bass, and Bruce Cox on drums. Following a tight first set comprised mostly of familiar standards, the house lights were turned up in order that Slide could field questions from an appreciative audience made up of both students and folks from the community.

He answered inquiries about everything from his nickname to his career to the present state of jazz. Hampton indicated that he is extremely optimistic because of all the interest of the next generation in the genre. Plus, when he was coming up, so many of his contemporaries turned to drugs, with devastating consequences. "Today's young jazz musicians are all vegetarians!" he exclaimed, obviously approving of their interest in adopting a healthy lifestyle. The night ended with a jam session during which aspiring artists were invited to join the band up on stage. Game participants taking their turns sitting-in included a talented array of soloists, including a flutist/tenor saxophonist, an alto player, a drummer, and four singers, three female, one male.

Slide earns high accolades, here, for so graciously hosting such a special evening, deftly balancing entertainment and education, giving back by freely sharing his wealth of information. A real role model deserving of respect for doing his best to bridge the gap between the generations.

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