Lionel Hampton (1908-2002)
Today, is Lionel Hampton’s birthday. To celebrate we are looking back to his 90th birthday celebration at the White House. Lionel had a long history playing for presidents starting when he led his band at Harry S. Truman’s Inaugural Gala in 1949. He also participated in the inaugurations of Presidents Eisenhower, H.W. Bush, and Clinton.
Inscription on back reads:
“July 23, 1998 in the East Room of the White House-Washington, DC The President and Mrs. Clinton invited Lionel Hampton to be their guest at the White house, along with his band, to celebrate his 90th birthday (actually April 20) and to honor him for his vast contributions to jazz during his lifetime. 150 invited guests attended. Lionel’s Band was introduced by Hillary Clinton along with an eloquent speech by her about Lionel’s musical gifts to the world & how important jazz was as an American Ambassador. The Band played many numbers to tumultuous applause & then President Clinton accepted Lionel’s invitation to play & [gave forth?] with a beautiful rendition of ‘My Funny Valentine’”