col. bruce hampton


"Look at this parking lot - this is perfect!"

In the fall of 2016, by serendipitous means, Col. Bruce Hampton shared his enthusiasm as he entered The Vista Room in Decatur GA. He was met by Mike Rizzi, whose intent was to create a space that was truly a musician’s room. With memories of The Brandy House, where The Fiji Mariners would hold court many times, Bruce adopted the room as his own right away. Popping in for a conversation with ‘The Great Rizz’, Bruce began what would be a weekly residency with The Madrid Express. The first show was December 22, 2016 - and as the vibe was felt the community began to grow. For six months Bruce would settle in with a team of the best musicians, refining his craft to it’s most focused and subtle. The Bruce Hampton version of Jackie Wilson at The Latin Casino: comfortable, without the show lights and the spectacle - just Bruce and the cats hanging out and preparing to deliver. And deliver they did as Bruce returned to the roots, with a rhythm section that would lay in that old Rhythm and Blues style a la Bobby Blue Bland, and wait for the unexpected left turn. 

After all, three lefts do make a right.

The Vista Room was conceived with ears first and eyes second - a room built from the back to the front by a seasoned player. If the room was right for musicians, they will bring their friends, and so on. As is often the case, Bruce Hampton's arrival affirmed the beauty of the mission and a common void was filled for both parties - a spot where the outside world stayed outside, with no TV and an intimate setup. Mike Rizzi soon dubbed Bruce ‘The Pope Of The Vista’ as he and many others witnessed community through music each week. In Rizzi’s words ‘There wasn’t a brighter light in the Vista than Col. Bruce Hampton’. 

Bruce was also taken with the Vista's sound quality. On March 16, 2017 he had the engineer record that night's sold out Madrid Express show with the intent of releasing it on vinyl. For several weeks the project was being finished by Bruce, and is now in the hands of his band with the blessing of Bruce's estate.

Col. Bruce Hampton and The Madrid Express Live At The Vista Room captures the night: Bruce as bandleader starting low and understated, telepathically communicating the use of dynamics to the band and building to the aforementioned left turn. And so, we present Col Bruce Hampton and The Madrid Express Live At The Vista Room. The universal chaos of creativity, weathered by experience and honesty to the craft, steeped over time with all of the mystery intact. 


Col. Bruce Hampton 

Vocal Expression, Guitar, 9’s

The Madrid Express

Tyler Neal - Vocals, Guitar/Slide Guitar

Franher Joseph - Bass, Vocals, Potarth

Darren Stanley - Drums, Yells

Dante’ Harmon - Lap Steel, Vocals

Nick DiSebastian - Mandolin, Vocals

Zambi All-Stars

Denny Walley - Slide Guitar

John Mailander - Fiddle

Daniel ”Tojo The ManHole Nakazawa” Wytanis - Trombone

Joey ”Papa J” Sommerville - Trumpet

Dallas Dawson - Drums, Cases

Guarav Malhotra - Percussion

Raphael - Tamborine

Engineers - Christopher Alan Yates, Jeep Hook, Darren Stanley

Mixed by Jeff Bakos at Bakos Amp Works

Mastered by Alex Lowe at Red Tuxedo Mastering

Produced by Darren Stanley

Executive Producer: Col. Bruce Hampton, ret.

Recorded Live March 16, 2017 @ The Vista Room Atlanta, Ga.

This project was started by Col. Bruce Hampton in early 2017, and completed with the blessing of his estate.