While Lionel Hampton is the namesake of the University of Idaho’s annual jazz festival, there’s another man behind its legacy.
Lynn “Doc” Skinner organized the festival for 31 years. He befriended Hampton and helped convince the vibraphone legend to lend his name and image to the event which, during its height in the ’80s and ’90s, attracted some of the greatest names in the genre to the remote campus.
In the new memoir “Hamp & Doc: Lynn ‘Doc’ Skinner and the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival,” Skinner reminisces about his life and their relationship. He was brought up in southern Idaho and hired as a music professor at UI in 1971. Hampton first played at the festival in 1984. Together, they brought luminaries like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Dizzy Gillespie to the festival, making it world-famous, but the focus wasn’t on the stars, it was on their interactions with students.
Skinner retired in 2007 and lives in Moscow. The book includes behind-the-scenes stories and photos from his personal collection. It was co-written with Alan Solan, a former arts and entertainment editor for the Moscow-Pullman Daily News who now lives in Portland.
— Jennifer K. Bauer