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Lionel Hampton
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    (April 20, 1908-August 31, 2002)
    Born in Louisville, Kentucky
    Jazz musician, born in Louisville, Kentucky and raised in Birmingham, Alabama and Chicago, Illinois
    Famous for his use of the vibraphone/xylophone
    Namesake of the University of Idaho's school of music and its annual jazz festival
    Received a Papal Medal from Pope Paul VI for his music and humanitarian efforts
    Member of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame
    Being the world's greatest xylophone player is being a big fish in a very tiny pond.
    A life long Catholic, late in life he joined the Christian Scientists, and became a Freemason.
    The popularity of his music dropped dramatically late in his career, and he made no attempt to adjust for new tastes in music.
    He was one of the first major artists to specialize in the xylophone.
    He worked with an incredible array of artists during his career including; Benny Goodwin, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Artie Shaw, Les Paul, Quincy Jones, and Aretha Franklin among others.
    When he joined the Benny Goodman Trio, making it The Benny Goodman Quartet, it became the first major racially integrated jazz band.
    He had to put up with Jim Crow during much of his career, like playing in venues he could not go in as a customer.
    He was a strong supporter of public housing for the poor, and was recognized by President George W. Bush for his efforts in this area.
    He graduated from high school at age 15.
    He was against anti-Semitism and was a strong supporter of Israel.
    He played himself in ten movies.
    He suffered from very bad health late in life.

Credit: tom_jeffords

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