Remembering Col. Bruce Hampton: A Career-Spanning Spotify Playlist


In the recent days following the unexpected death of jam scene patriarch Col. Bruce Hampton there has been a constant stream of love and admiration for the just-turned 70-year-old master musician. The Colonel positively affected and altered the lives of many top improvisational rock performers, sharing his unique perspective on the world and beyond with those lucky to be close enough to listen. Saturday Stream today presents a decades-spanning retrospective Spotify Playlist featuring selections from throughout Hampton’s diverse and influential career.

A consummate collaborator literally until his final moments, Hampton made music with a nearly countless number of talented musicians. Hampton’s disparate catalog begins with his contribution as a member of the chorus alongside “the rest of the guys from Atlanta” on Frank Zappa’s experimental 1967 debut solo album Lumpy Gravy. The experimental side of Hampton’s style was also present on his notorious 1971 Music To Eat album with the Hampton Grease Band that is said to be the second lowest earning double album in the history of Columbia Records, behind only a yoga record.

The Spotify Playlist features those records as well as the 1978 debut Col. Bruce Hampton album One Ruined Life (Of A Bronze Tourist). There are selections from the Col. Bruce Hampton & The Late Bronze Age’s 1980 album Outside Looking Out and 1982 album Isles Of Langerhan, the compilation Strange Voices: A History 1977 – 1987 and his 1987 solo effort Arkansas.

The famed Aquarium Rescue Unit, led by the Colonel with bassist Oteil Burbridge, guitarist Jimmy Herring, drummer Jeff Sipe and mandolinist Matt Mundy first appear on their 1992 self-titled live album and again on 1993’s Mirrors Of Embarrassment. Members of ARU and Hampton can also be heard backing blues guitarist CeDell Davis on his 1995 Best Of record. There’s also the 1996 Fiji album attributed to the Fiji Mariners and the 2006 The Codetalkers LP Now. The playlist progresses with The Quark Alliance’s 2007 album Give Thanks To Chank and a pair of solo albums, 2010’s Songs Of The Solar Ping and 2014’s Pharoah’s Kitchen.

The playlist concludes with a set of live and studio recorded tracks from a wide range of artists featuring Col. Bruce as a special guest. Phish, Widespread Panic, Chuck Leavell, Mike Gordon and others are represented alongside the late great Colonel in the playlist below: