"MIDNIGHT BLUE." Lionel Hampton/Dexter Gordon. Glad-Hamp GHS1027 (1995 Broadway, New York City 10023). Six of these eight pieces were recorded with a septet in which Gordon (doubling on tenor and soprano saxes), Hank Jones on piano, Bucky Pizzarelli on guitar and Hampton on vibes are all effectively displayed. "Blues for Gates," despite its title, is a 32-bar minor theme at a fast clip, with a strong build-up toward the end by Gordon on soprano and Candido on conga drums.
The two maverick tracks are the brief opener, "Midnight Blues," which evidently was recorded many years ago, since the featured soloist is the tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, who died in 1969, and "Hamp Celebrates Dexter," the closing piece. This is actually a second version of the preceding tune, "Seven Come Eleven," except that a Gordon solo was written out by Ernie Wilkins for unison saxophones. Though not consistently rewarding, this is a generally worthwhile example of Hampton in typically ebullient form and of Gordon in better days. 3 1/2 stars.