Christian Fabian, bass player for the new Lionel Hampton Big Band featuring Jason Marsalis, just returned from the Marleaux 25th Anniversary party in Lautenthal, Germany, where he was one of the featured presenters. The Marleaux party was one of the dates on his tour in Germany, Belgium, and Igor Butman's Jazz Club in Moscow.
"It's the Bass that Makes you Dance" is the Marleaux tag, and Fabian agrees. "One of the goals we have in the new Hampton Band is to give people a great time, like Hamp did. The audience had a great time, and we had a great time playing for them."
Fabian, along with Lance Bryant and Cleave Guyton Jr, were members of Lionel Hampton's Big Band—Fabian was the last Bass Chair, and Bryant and Guyton Jr were Musical Directors. Jason Marsalis also played with Hamp: "Jason was the unanimous choice by the Hampton Estate and the Band members for the new Band—it was clear he had Hamp's spirit plus his own great style playing vibes," says Fabian.
The Band is heading out to California to play its premiere dates at Don Quixote’s in Santa Cruz (Oct 29) and Yoshi's in Oakland (Nov 1), with a private event in Walnut Creek, CA Oct 30. A friend of 94-year-old Frank Como, Hampton's principal arranger, heard about the launch of the new Band and was eager to arrange a special concert for his friend Como.
"We're just delighted with the response we've been getting—from Moscow to Australia to Chicago. People are excited about this new Band because of the calibre of the musicians, Jason on vibes, and because Hamp left a wonderful legacy of fun and great music. People were up and dancing to the Hampton Band–we want to continue that." says Fabian. "And okay, maybe I'm a little biased—but I DO think it's the bass that makes you dance."
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