Who was Lionel Hampton?Lionel Hampton was born on April 20, 1908, in Louisville, Kentucky. He grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, and Chicago, Illinois, where he was exposed to various musical styles and influences. He started playing drums as a child, and later learned to play the xylophone and the piano. He was also a singer and a dancer, performing in various clubs and theaters.He moved to California in the late 1920s, where he joined the Les Hite band as a drummer. He also recorded with Louis Armstrong, who introduced him to the vibraphone, a new instrument that had been invented in 1921. Hampton was fascinated by the vibraphone, and soon became one of the first and most proficient players of the instrument. He developed a unique style of playing, using four mallets instead of two, and creating complex harmonies and rhythms.He gained fame and recognition when he joined the Benny Goodman quartet in 1936, along with Teddy Wilson on piano and Gene Krupa on drums. The quartet was one of the first interracial groups to perform in public, breaking the racial barriers that existed in the music industry at the time. The quartet was a sensation, playing to sold-out audiences and recording hit songs such as “Moonglow”, “Dinah”, and “Avalon”.Hampton left the Goodman quartet in 1940, and formed his own big band, which featured some of the best jazz musicians of the time, such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, and Quincy Jones. He also hired some of the first female instrumentalists in jazz, such as Mary Lou Williams, Melba Liston, and Betty Carter. His band played a mix of swing, bebop, and rhythm and blues, and was known for its energetic and entertaining performances. Hampton also composed some of his own songs, such as “Flying Home”, “Midnight Sun”, and “Hamp’s Boogie Woogie”.Hampton continued to perform and record throughout the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, collaborating with other jazz legends, such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nat King Cole. He also played for several US presidents, such as Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Richard Nixon. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1996, and was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1992.How did Lionel Hampton die?Lionel Hampton died on August 31, 2002, at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan. He had suffered a heart attack a few days earlier, and had been hospitalized since then. He also had a history of strokes, diabetes, and kidney problems. He was 94 years old.His death was mourned by many people, especially his fans and fellow musicians, who praised his talent, charisma, and generosity. He was remembered as a jazz icon, a vibraphone virtuoso, and a trailblazer of racial integration in music. His funeral was held on September 7, 2002, at the Riverside Church in Harlem, where hundreds of people attended to pay their respects. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered in the Hudson River, according to his wishes.ConclusionLionel Hampton was a remarkable and influential jazz musician, who played a key role in the development and evolution of jazz music. He was a master of the vibraphone, a pianist, a drummer, a bandleader, and a composer. He worked with some of the most famous jazz musicians in history, and also created his own big band, which featured some of the best and most diverse jazz talents. He was also a pioneer of racial integration in music, performing in one of the first interracial groups in the 1930s. He died in 2002, at the age of 94, from complications of old age and a recent heart attack.