Sitting down with Bruce Hampton is one of the most enjoyable occasions one can fathom. He is genuine, funny and affable. But underneath it all is a surplus of wisdom and insight that when spoken, often results in double takes and in what Susan Tedeschi refers to as being “Hampmotized.”
Bruce’s accolades are deep. Beyond his own musical abilities, his eye for others’ talent is one from which Berry Gordy could learn. His peers praise him at every opportunity and often without mention. Derek Trucks credits him with being the primary reason that he stuck with music. Billy Bob Thornton (who cast Bruce in Sling Blade) perks up and straightens his posture at the mere mention of his name. Phish, Widespread Panic and Dave Matthews never missed a set by Bruce’s most known ensemble, Aquarium Rescue Unit, during the seminal H.O.R.D.E. tours of the early 1990s.
But the best part is that none of this seems to matter to him; and if it does, one would never know it by looking or talking to the inherently humble Zambi practicing Hampton.
While aboard Jam Cruise 10, Bruce invited David Shehi into his cabin for a chat and David clicked the camera on when Bruce said he would do something that is rare at best — play an acoustic guitar, improvising a number just for the fun of it.Â Not one who is entirely in love with on camera interviews, he allowed the camera to roll and the two converse on topics as broad as relationships and Egyptian numerics and as narrow as concert behavior and Super Bowl predictions.
So sit back, relax and take a trip to Zambiland as we present Life Improvised: An Honest Tune Interview with Col. Bruce Hampton, Ret.Â
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