Hampton HAWES – The Sermon 1958

Hampton HAWES – The Sermon 1958
2002 Issue


There is irony in the history of The Sermon, one of the most directly affecting of Hampton Hawes’s 14 albums for Contemporary. He recorded it a few days before he was sentenced to federal prison on a technically correct but unjust narcotics conviction. Hawes served five years of his ten-year sentence, then was pardoned by President Kennedy, but The Sermon spent 29 years in solitary confinement in Contemporary’s tape vaults. It was released as a long- playing record ten years after Hawes’s death and quickly went out of print. Now on CD at last, it finds the preacher’s son at a time when he must have felt that nobody knew the trouble he’d seen. Still, his playing reflected the hope inherent in the spirituals that make up the collection. The album is capped by one of Hawes’s typically sunny blues. Throughout, bassist Leroy Vinnegar and drummer Stan Levey accompany him with enthusiasm and impeccable taste.
Hampton Hawes recorded THE SERMON in 1958, just days before he was sentenced to federal prison on a narcotics conviction. He was pardoned by President Kennedy five years later, but THE SERMON wasn’t released until 1987, ten years after Hawes’ death.

This set was pianist Hampton Hawes’ last before he started what would be five years in prison on drug charges. He had been arrested 11 days before and ironically chose to record a set of spirituals (plus a blues) as he awaited trial. Not released until 1987, the music (played with bassist Leroy Vinnegar and drummer Stan Levey) is full of intense emotion, strong melodies and a little more variety than one might expect. Hawes’ treatments of such tunes as “Down By the Riverside,” “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen,” “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder” and “Joshua Fit De Battle of Jericho” are quite haunting.
By Scott Yanow. AMG.
Hampton Hawes- (Piano);
Leroy Vinnegar- (Bass);
Stan Levey- (Drums).
01. Down By The Riverside 4:43
02. Just A Closer Walk With Thee 5:01
03. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot 4:53
04. Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen 4:53
05. When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder 4:31
06. Go Down Moses 4:34
07. Joshua Fit De Battle Of Jericho 3:54
08. Blues N/C 8:47

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