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Herb Alpert Music Center

Adjunct Faculty

Iajhi Hampden

Iajhi Hampden

Applied Faculty, Drums

Contact Info

Office: All offices are currently closed.

Biographical Statement:

Pronounced “E-Ahh-Gee”

Born in Manhattan to musical parents, Professor Hampden has had music around him all of his life. Following in the footsteps of his father (Ivan Hampden) who has toured with Luther Vandross since 1987, he began playing drums at the age of ten in a North Carolina church behind his mother who served as the musical director. Taking gigs in the area at 16, as soon as he was able to drive, Professor Hampden enrolled at North Carolina Central University two years later in 1997, and under the direction of Dr. Ira Wiggins began the journey into jazz studies.

While at N.C.C.U. as a part of the jazz studies program, he was privileged to perform at the Montreaux and Vienne jazz festivals in Europe, the White House on two occasions, and also shared stages with Stanley Turntine, Slide Hampton, Frank Foster, Jimmy Heath, Terrell Stafford, Nicholas Payton, and many others. At North Carolina Central Professor Hampden developed a gigging relationship, and much musical growth with Grammy Nominee Eve Cornielous (vocalist) and Chip Crawford (piano). The two have collectively worked with many jazz greats, including Barry Harris, Norman Conners, Roy Hargrove, Jovan Jackson, and many others.

Through this group including Ameen Saleem (bass), Professor Hampden has worked with Fred Westley, Nnenna Freelon, and Kenny Garrett to name a few. Upon graduation, he began performing around the east coast, continuing his love for jazz, gospel, funk, hip hop, rock and all other types of music, helping to develop his craft.

In 2005, Professor Hampden completed a Graduate Assistantship to Ronald Carter (sax) At Northern Illinois University as a Liberace scholar. Professor Carter has taught many of the current young “lions” in the music scene today, including drummers Montez Coleman (Rufus Reid), and Terrion Gully (Christian McBride), and has a working relationship with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center program as creative administrator. The Liberace scholar program involves working in a small group setting where all the material of the band is original from the group, and all are required to submit material. The members of this group also are required to take on various teaching positions at the school from directing big bands to teaching jazz history for the university. While at N.I.U., Professor Hampden was privileged to tour with the NIU jazz ensemble working alongside guest artists such as Donald Harrison, Christian Scott, Eddie Henderson, Dennis Mackrel and Red Holloway. The big band, and Liberace Jazztet also traveled to South America in 2004 to perform at the Lima Jazz Festival in Lima, Peru.

Shortly after graduation, Professor Hampden began touring the country with a tribute band working over 200 days a year, and has since relocated to the Los Angeles area. Since living in Los Angeles, Professor Hampden has been privileged to be involved in a large number of musical projects. He has performed on MTV’s TRL, Last Call with Carson Daily, Live with Regis and Kelly, and The View, and has worked with artists such as Lina, Andre Delano, Ashley Parker Angel, Andy Vargas, Norman Brown, Phill Perry, Eric Darius, Brenda Russell, Alex Bugnon, Pati Austin, Chante’ Moore, Paul Taylor, Jessy J., Mindi Abair, Gordon Chambers, and Hollywood Records artists, Aly & A.J. (Summer Tour 2007 & Hanna Montana, Best of Both Worlds Tour, January 2008), and performing with Pop singer/songwriter V.V. Brown, and Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter/actress, Macy Gray.

From 2010 to the present Professor Hampden has continued his career touring and recording with the following artists: Lee Dewyze (American Idol), Nikka Costa, Jessy J (sax), Paige Bryan, Engelbert Humperdink, Dallas Austin, Quadron, Niia, New Kids on the Block, John Legend, Esperanza Spaulding, Stevie Wonder, Kelly Clarkson, Everlast, and Raphael Saadiq.

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