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  May 2007  
Slide Hampton interview page 3


slide hamptonSH:  Well, I appreciate, you know, your respect for myself and the music and all of that.  Of course, see, the good thing about music is it makes you realize that you’re always a lot smaller than the music is.

Smitty: I understand, yes.

SH:  A lot less important than the music is.

Smitty:  But, you know, Slide, and I said what I just said earlier to let you know how much you are appreciated by fans around the world for what you’ve done with the music.  It can’t be overstated that you have accomplished a great deal, you’ve reached a lot of people, and you’ve reached the hearts of a lot of people with your music and we truly appreciate you for what you’ve done with such great arrangements.

SH:  It’s me to thank you and all the people that listen to our music.

Smitty:  Absolutely, my friend, and isn’t it great to have that mutual admiration and appreciation?  And that’s part of what music’s all about, really.

SH:  Truth is, it really teaches you to appreciate all the different things that go into making music and a musical event, which is the composers, the arrangers, the musicians, the audience.  It takes all of that to make a real successful musical event and without one part of it, we couldn’t really have the music we have.

Smitty:  You’re so right. And your music, the awards you’ve received and the admiration that you’ve received over the years, all of that speaks for itself in saying that you truly are a great musician who is much appreciated as a person and as a musician, around the world. 

SH:  If we didn’t have guys like you advocating our music, a lotta people would never hear it, so I really wanna thank you for what you’ve done to help keep the music going and keep it alive.

Smitty:  Well, thank you so much.  It is my pleasure and it means a lot to hear you say that.  Now, let’s talk about the big band, man.  I know you’ve gotta love that whole scene and the whole vibe of the big band.  Talk about what that’s like when you’re in the groove with the big band.

SH:  Well, when I first started the big bands were the thing. There weren’t any small groups.  They were all big bands.  There was Count Basie, there was Dizzy Gillespie, there was Billy Eckstine, Woody Herman, Stan Kenton.  Big bands have always been a very important part of the development of the whole musical scene because it’s like a school.  Every band is like a school.  You learn in a big band.  You’re playing with other guys that are as good as you or maybe even better than you, so it’s an environment of learning.  All the great musicians that we hear recording with small groups, they have all spent a lot of their training period in the big bands, so the big bands are very important.

Smitty:  Very interesting.  Now, how do you go from a smaller band to the big band?  I mean, is there that much of a different personality?  Is it a different feel for you?  Or is it just hey, this is Slide Hampton?

SH:  Well, you’re taking the experience from one end to the other and each one has things about it that are more important, and you take those things that are more important right from the small band to the big band and vice versa.

Smitty:  Yes.

SH:  Because each experience that you have can also bring something to whatever kind of ensemble you’re playing with.  If you’ve been playing a lot with small bands, you learn certain things there that will make you better in a big band, and there are things that you learn in a big band that will make you better in a small group.

Smitty:  Absolutely.  That’s very cool.  Now, talk to me about the record.  How can people get this record?

SH: The record is available on my web site www.Slide

Smitty:  Yes. I love your web site; a fantastic design and very informative.

SH: Thank you. If you logon to my web site, you’ll have all the information, because Tony’s the one that handles all that stuff.  Tony Charles handles all of that. So you can get it through us.

Smitty:  Absolutely, my friend.  How about the tour, how’s that going?

SH:  We’ve got some great projects coming up, so many, and you know, in April it’s gonna be my 75th birthday.

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