Friday, November 13, 2015

Hampton Hawes (1928-1977): Raise Up Off Me Alley


In honor of Hampton Hawes (1928–1977), whose birthday falls on November 13, we'd like to draw attention to a unique tribute you can find at the SFJAZZ Center.

The loading area and passageway on the west side of the building is named “Raise Up Off Me Alley” in tribute to the West Coast jazz piano great and his incendiary autobiography Raise Up Off Me. The memoir chronicles Hawes’ meteoric career that included the 1956 DownBeat award for New Star of the Year and work with Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, and Dexter Gordon, as well as Hawes’ struggle with heroin, his five-year imprisonment on drug charges, and his ultimate redemption with an Executive Pardon by President John F. Kennedy in 1963. He lived in the Bay Area in the 1970s, and died of a brain hemorrhage at age 48.

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