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20 April 1908 (some claim 1909 and 1914), Louisville, Kentucky, USA, d. 31 August 2002, New York, USA. After living briefly in Louisville and Birmingham, Alabama, Hampton was taken to Chicago where he lived with his grandparents. They sent him to Holy Rosary Academy at Collins, Wisconsin, where he was taught the rudiments of military band drumming by a Dominican nun. Following the death of his grandmother, Hampton, now in his early teens, went to live with his uncle, Richard Morgan. A bootlegger and friend to many showbusiness stars, Morgan encouraged his nephew in his ambition to become a musician. (Morgan later became an intimate friend of Bessie Smith and was driving the car in which she had her fatal accident.) Morgan bought Hampton his first drum kit, modelled on that of the boys idol, Jimmy Bertrand, who played in the Erskine Tate band at the Vendome Theatre. Hampton played in the boys band organized by the Defender, Chicagos leading black...