• Clarke Fielding (Deacon) Hampton (Mar. 14, 1879-May 29, 1951);
  • Laura Buford Hampton (Nov. 4, 1890-May 26, 1967);
  • Aletra Hampton (Oct. 8, 1915-Nov. 12, 2007);
  • Carmelita Hampton (Nov. 16, 1916-May 16, 1987);
  • Clarke (Duke) Hampton Jr. (Aug. 13, 1918-Aug. 19, 2004);
  • Marcus Hampton (July 31, 1920-July 31, 1986);
  • Maceo Hampton (Feb. 22, 1922-?);
  • Virtue Hampton (Feb. 22, 1922-Jan. 17, 2007):
  • Russell (Lucky) Hampton (June 24, 1925-Aug. 30, 1976);
  • Dawn Hampton (June 9, 1928-Sept. 25, 2016);
  • Locksley “Slide” Hampton (April 21, 1932-);
  • Marcus Hampton Jr. (May 11, 1941-May 20, 2021).

The Hampton Family is an African American family of jazz musicians whose individual members and various ensemble configurations have contributed greatly to Indianapolis musical life since the 1930s. Clarke Fielding (Deacon) Hampton was born in Batavia, Ohio, and attended a military school in nearby Xenia, where he learned to play the bugle.

The Hampton Sisters, 1954 Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source

In 1908, he married Laura Burford and, by World War I, had organized their children into Deacon Hampton’s Family Band, a Middletown, Ohio, ensemble that toured the rural Midwest performing at fairs, tent shows, parties, and clubs with a varied repertoire of square dance tunes, polkas, blues, jazz, minstrel numbers, and pop ballads.

The Hamptons tried to make it in Hollywood in the late 1930s. After a successful engagement at Indianapolis’ Sunset Ballroom on Indiana Avenue in 1938, the Hamptons settled in Indianapolis, where their children Marcus, Russell, Maceo, and Slide attended the McArthur School of Music and changed the Family Band into a swing-style ensemble, the Duke Hampton Band. Members in the mid-1940s included Virtue (double bass), Aletra (harp, piano), Marcus (trumpet), Dawn (alto sax), Russell (Lucky) (baritone-tenor-alto saxes), Carmalita (banjo, guitar, tenor-baritone saxes), Locksley (Slide) (trombone, flugelhorn), Clarke Jr. (Duke) (saxophones, drums, timpani, vibraharp), and Maceo (trumpet). The group recorded on the King and Aladdin record labels but disbanded after having appeared at Carnegie Hall, the Apollo Theatre, and the Savoy Ballroom in New York City.

During World War II, when the family band went on hiatus after several of the brothers enlisted in the war, Virtue, Aletra, Carmalita, and Dawn formed the Hampton Sisters Quartet. Aletra played harp and piano; Carmalita played baritone saxophone, banjo, and guitar; Virtue played double bass; and Dawn played alto saxophone. Each one of them performed vocals. Under the name, The Hamptonians, the sisters played at local clubs along Indiana Avenue and in USO shows.

During the 1950s, the Hampton Sisters became a trio after Dawn went to New York and became an established cabaret singer and songwriter. Slide Hampton moved to New York in the mid-1950s and to Europe in the 1960s, where he became a prolific composer, arranger, and performer, appearing with Lionel Hampton (jazz vibraharpist and a distant cousin), trumpeter Maynard Ferguson (trumpeter), Freddie Hubbard (trumpeter), vocalist Lloyd Price (vocalist), clarinetist Woody Herman (clarinetist), Ron Carter (double bassist), Art Blakey (drummer), and others.

Third-generation Hampton family performers include several of Virtue Hampton Whitted’s children (Tamar, vocals; Pharez, trumpet, flugelhorn; Thomas, trombone; Henry, saxophone; L’ouverture, trumpet), Aletra’s daughter Paula Hampton, a drummer, and Marcus’s son Marcus Hampton Jr., a trumpeter.

Revised March 2021

Help improve this entry

Contribute information, offer corrections, suggest images.

You can also recommend new entries related to this topic.