Bing Hampton

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Bing Hampton
Photo by Lucio Agostini
Born Luigi di Miseli in the Papal States in 1897, Bing "Dem Bones" Hampton was one of many jass and zidico-swing band leaders of the 1940s through 1960s in the NAL-SLC. A cruiner of lesser fame than many, his greatest claim to fame was as the greatest tombonist in the Great Lakes region. His band, Bing Hampton and the Toronto Troubadours, played for ABC radio and television in Toronto from 1936 to 1959. Thereafter, the band was drawn more towards the moving picture industry. After Hampton's death of cancer in 1963, the band was reorganised but split apart by 1965.

Hampton was at the forefront of the movement towards the soloist other than at the piano as band director in American jass and was renown as one of few trombonists to take the lead. In an era when the piston cornet was melting the musical hearts or America (and indeed the world) and the clarinet was sitting pretty itself, only a few band leaders who played "odd" instruments were to be seen. Bing Hampton's career started in 1918 at St. Louis (NAL) where the young immigrant was profoundly affected by early zidico greats like trombonist Roy Paumer. As early as 1929, Bing had formed a band of his own and was trying to strike it rich along the Mississippi.

Having been thrown out of New Orleans for "rough public conduct" and unable to find much work in the other great jass cities to the north, Hampton's early band broke up and he moved north to Toronto. In 1933, jass was just beginning to break onto the Toronto scene and Hampton was in the right place at the right time. He invited his old chums up north and Bing Hampton and the Zidico Scallywags (billed as coming all the way from the "home of Jass", Noovel Orleens) took Toronto by storm. The Scallywags broke up in 1935 and Hampton formed the Troubadours thereafter. He was invited to lead the ABC Radio Orchestra of Toronto that same year, and several bandsmen took positions in both bands.


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