Bruce Hampton was known as the “King of the Jam Bands” in Atlanta that brought together a diverse group of musicians and instruments. Any performance by Hampton was always crowded and when he walked into a live music spot in Atlanta, almost every musician in the city greeted him warmly. Not just because of his music but because of the good soul and attitude that he brought with him. During one show, a musician noticed that the guitar Hampton purchased at a pawnshop was stolen from him. After the show, he told Hampton that B.B. King signed the instrument and it belonged to him and Hampton without hesitation gave it back to the man.
A concert at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta on Monday, May 1 honored Hampton and was billed as “Hampton 70: A Celebration of Col. Bruce Hampton.” It was an all-star concert featuring Widespread Panic members John Bell, Dave Schools, Duane Trucks and Jimmy Herring; Peter Buck of R.E.M; steel guitarist Darick Campbell; saxophone player Karl Denson; Drew Emmitt and Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon; Jon Fishman of Phish; banjo player Rev. Jeff Mosier; guitarist Warren Haynes; Drivin N Cryin frontman Kevn Kinney; Atlanta jazz-staple Johnny Knapp; the legendary Chuck Leavell; Athens rock-troubadour T. Hardy Morris; 13-year-old guitar prodigy Brandon Niederauer; Slide Guitarist Derek Trucks and Blues Singer Susan Tedeschi of the Tedeschi Trucks Band; John Popper of Blues Traveler; funk bassist Kevin Scott; keyboardist Matt Slocum; Denny Walley of Frank Zappa fame; gypsy-metal guitarist Emil Werstler; Oliver Wood of The Wood Brothers; MLB pitcher Jake Peavy; and the Colonel’s Sling Blade co-star, actor Billy Bob Thornton.
Hampton collapsed at the concert and later died at a local hospital.