My first influence on the vibes was Hamp – Lionel Leo Hampton (April 20, 1908 – August 31, 2002). He had it all……great swing, showmanship, virtuosity, leadership. He was ‘de man, no doubt. Check out his early small group recordings. He is playing like there is no tomorrow. Benny Goodman knew what he was doing, race barrier or not. Hamp killed. In 2012 I had the honor of playing vibes with the Lionel Hampton Big Band at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Idaho. ON HAMP’S SET OF VIBES!!!! Here is a shot of the German dude with Hamp’s statue. Speaking of going full circle!