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November 2, 1974

Lionel Hampton’s orchestra played to a packed Students’ Building audience at the winter formal. Along with pianist Teddy Wilson, Hampton was one of the two African Americans in the 1936 Benny Goodman quartet, the “first black men,” he told Jeff Hunt ’77 in a Miscellany News interview, “to play in the same group with whites. The group’s popularity and excellence, he suggested, permitted this, and it may have helped to end black-with separatism in music… This banc (which is not his Big Band but his ‘Jazz Inner Circle’) played a lot of numbers in Latin, rock and bop beats, as opposed to straight swing numbers at Saturday’s dance…. His mallets flew across the vibes, and he agilely twirled his drumsticks.”

Writing earlier in The Misc., Rowland W. Evans ’75 noted that, in bringing the Hampton band to campus, “along with the Ellington dance last year and the Basie dance to come later this year,” the Student Entertainment Committee (SEC) gave Vassar “the honor of hosting three of the six or seven finest musical organizations of the…Swing Era.”

The Years