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Hampton Hawes Biography

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Hampton Hawes (November 13, 1928 – May 22, 1977) was an African American jazz pianist.

Hawes was born and raised in Los Angeles. His father was a Presbyterian minister in Watts who disapproved of his son's interest in jazz. Nevertheless, by his teen years, Hawes was already playing with well known musicians around the area, including Dexter Gordon, Sonny Criss, and Wardell Gray. Hawes was also a member of the Howard McGhee band, where he played with Charlie Parker. He also played with Charles Mingus, as recorded on the album "Mingus Three" (1957, Roulette)

After serving in the army from 1952-1954, Hawes led his own trio, with bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Chuck Thompson. In 1958, he was arrested for heroin possession, and served time in jail until 1963, when John F. Kennedy granted him a presidential pardon.

After his release, Hawes resumed playing and recording. He also experimented with electronic music, although he eventually returned to making acoustic music. Raise Up Off Me, Hawes' autobiography published in 1974, shed some light on his heroin addiction, the bebop movement, and his friendships with some of the best jazz musicians of his time. He died from a stroke, only 48 years old.
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