Music and magic came together in Moscow, Idaho, when jazz legend Lionel Hampton fell in love with music educator Lynn “Doc” Skinner’s idea: let students from remote areas of the country come to the University of Idaho’s jazz festival and learn directly from the greats. With only that dream, the two men went on to grow what had been a modest annual event into a world-class celebration of music, education, love, and life—while developing a deep and profound friendship along the way.
That accomplishment is at the heart of Hamp & Doc: Lynn “Doc” Skinner and the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival—Skinner’s memoir, as told to Alan Solan, former arts and entertainment editor of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, who covered the festival for many years. Hamp & Doc is packed with previously unheard stories about some of the biggest names in jazz (Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, and many more), rare photos from Skinner’s personal collection, a behind-the-scenes look at his thirty-one years directing the festival, and inspiring anecdotes about his early life as a musical prodigy growing up in a loving Mormon family in southern Idaho.
But most of all, Hamp & Doc is a celebration. Skinner and Hampton created an unforgettable experience for hundreds of thousands of students, many of whom went on to become renowned musicians in their own right. At last, there is a fitting testament to this incredible legacy.