Skip to main content

As a public health precaution, all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo will temporarily close to the public starting Saturday, March 14 until further notice. Please continue to check back frequently at or for updates. In the meantime, please explore our website, resource materials and online exhibitions. 

Lionel Hampton

Lionel Hampton
Usage Conditions Apply
Andre Da Miano, 3 Jun 1908 - ?
Lionel Hampton, 20 Apr 1908 - 31 Aug 2002
Gelatin silver print
Image: 25.9 x 33.9 cm (10 3/16 x 13 3/8")
Sheet: 25.9 x 33.9 cm (10 3/16 x 13 3/8")
Mat: 71.1 x 55.9 cm (28 x 22")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
Object number
Exhibition Label
Lionel Hampton began his musical career as a drummer in Les Hite's band, but that changed in the early 1930s, when he tried playing a vibraphone in an idle moment at a recording session. The vibraphone was soon his instrument of choice, and over the next several years, his skill on it earned it a significant place in the jazz idiom. In 1940, after playing for four years with the Benny Goodman Quartet, Hampton formed his own band. Claiming a roster of musicians that included such jazz notables as Quincy Jones and Charlie Mingus, the group became one of America's most highly regarded big bands. Hampton's most endearing trait was his high-energy spontaneity that sometimes raised audience enthusiasm to a fever pitch. "We got no routine," he once said, "We just act the way the spirit moves us."
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection