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Chico Hamilton Quintet: Three Classic Albums

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Chico Hamilton QuintetThree Classic AlbumsAvid Records2010 The first thing the Chico Hamilton Quintet had going for it was unusual instrumentation. The quintet built its sound around the cello, and featured guitar, bass, either flute or clarinet (with the occasional sax), and Hamilton on drums, forgoing the sticks for brushes or mallets. The second thing was a style that wasn't quite jazz, exactly, but not as composed as classical (and definitely not as boring as third stream.) Many called it chamber jazz, an apt title for a group that applied counterpoint and melody ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Chico Hamilton: Now and Then

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Chico Hamilton Twelve Tones of Love Joyous Shout 2009 The Original Chico Hamilton Quintet Complete Studio Recordings Fresh Sound 2009 It would be a huge understatement simply to say that legendary drummer Chico Hamilton is still going strong as he approaches his 88th birthday next month. His latest CD, Twelve Tones of Love, is as jam-packed with creativity and musical ideas as any release you're likely to hear this year. Indeed, one criticism of ...

TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five With Chico Hamilton

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Meet Chico Hamilton: Known for representing jazz in its purest form, octogenarian Chico Hamilton shows virtually no signs of fatigue. Saluted by the Kennedy Center as a “Living Jazz Legend," and appointed to the National Council on the Arts, Chico Hamilton is considered one of the most important living jazz artists and composers. He is currently on a national Borders Bookstore tour with his band Euphoria. While continuing to teach at the New School University Jazz Program, where he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate degree, Chico is busy writing his autobiography, composing and performing music for film, and working on ...

ARTIST PROFILES

Chico Hamilton: Joyous Shout

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When Chico Hamilton was a boy growing up in Los Angeles, the film studios used to send trucks out to pick up the little African-American children to play natives in their Tarzan movies. “It was work, after all, and we got paid for it," says the drummer, now 87 years of age. “And what you learned very quickly is not to look into the camera. Once you did that they could never hire you again." That's a lesson that relates to Hamilton's entire career as a musician; it's the craft and the work that have always mattered to him and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chico Hamilton / Andrew Hill: Dreams Come True

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More than anything, music is similar to line. Music is also unidirectional; it cannot back up within the same context and repeat what has just been done. Excluding the shallowness or depth of the resonance of sound, the dimensionality in music stems from the intersection of lines as one instrumental line overlaps the other. An example of this interrelationship comes in a 1993 duo date with drummer Chico Hamilton and the late, unsurpassable pianist, Andrew Hill, on Dreams Come True.

Those familiar with Chico Hamilton's impervious pulsations will recognize his equally adept skill at chasing seemingly non-rhythmic musical curves as ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chico Hamilton: It's About Time

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No matter what tradition a drummer harks from, if that drummer is good, there is no avoiding the uplifting nature of the music when the drummer leads in a precise direction. Chico Hamilton is just that drummer. One need only to read his liner notes for It's About Time! and his standard is set. His musical aim: to find the pocket and stick with it.

The members of the trio on this recording have collaborated over a period of twenty-five years: Pretty simple--a guitarist, a Fender bassist, and drummer. The elegance that this trio cultivates in the thickness, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chico Hamilton: It's About Time!

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"It's about time," a common phrase of exasperated relief, has deeper temporal meanings as the title of Chico Hamilton's new CD. Its primary reference is to keeping time on the drums, which Hamilton has done skillfully for over a half-century. Moreover, the drums/bass/guitar trio setup on this disc is the same type he used on his 1955 debut as a leader, which gives the album a retrospective aspect. Finally, It's About Time! is a mere 28 minutes long--a time frame which many jazz players use nowadays simply to clear their throats. Throughout the album Hamilton uses his ...

INTERVIEWS

Chico Hamilton: The Master

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An educator, performer, film score composer/actor, drummer and bandleader, National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master (2004) and Kennedy Center Living Jazz Master Chico Hamilton is still going strong. His always compelling music defies genre and manages to reach new audiences through works like the newly restored Original Ellington Suite (Blue Note, 2000) and Hamiltonia. (Joyous Shout!, 2007). Hamilton took some time out of his busy schedule to talk about where he has been and what's still to come.

All About Jazz: You grew up in Los Angeles, California. In your youth, some of your contemporaries whom you ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chico Hamilton: Hamiltonia

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Defying conventions even in the mildest of musical settings can define a path to innovation. For drummer Foreststorn “Chico Hamilton, blazing a trail within his own dynamic language, sometimes reflecting his heritage, has been a lifelong tradition.

On Hamiltonia, octogenarian Hamilton has chosen a group of originals from four 2006 recordings to summarize a view of his musical personality. The lack of presumption in both his musicianship and his compositions propels an unmistakable sound that is free-flowing, steadfast and often downright upbeat.

In his history as a bandleader, Hamilton has created groups that have featured some ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chico Hamilton Quintet & Fred Katz: Classical Katz

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The lasting impression of this music by drummer Chico Hamilton and composer/cellist Fred Katz is that of a quiet revolution overtaken by events captured in time to such an extent that it encapsulates that moment or at least a particular strand of musical development that has since petered out to nothing in the half century that's passed since the music was recorded.

For this is a highly formal variety of jazz, so much so in fact, that there are times when the music hardly qualifies the description and the significance of this cannot be overstated. This is also music as ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chico Hamilton: Juniflip

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What is it with jazz drummers? They seem to go on forever like the Energizer bunny. Chico Hamilton celebrates his 85th birthday this year with four new releases, of which Juniflip is a swinger with guests George Bohanon (trombone), Jimmy Cheatham (bass trombone), and vocalists Bill Henderson and Arthur Lee (frontman for the band LOVE) augmenting Hamilton's working group, known as Euphoria: Cary Denigris (guitar), Paul Ramsey (Fender bass) and Evan Schwam (flute, tenor and soprano sax). The recording presents an eclectic selection of material and styles. There's blues, R&B, the '60s hit “Yeh Yeh (dedicated to ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Chico Hamilton: Believe, 6th Avenue Romp & Heritage

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Chico Hamilton Believe Joyous Shout 2006 Chico Hamilton 6th Avenue Romp Joyous Shout 2006 Chico Hamilton Heritage Joyous Shout 2006

Chico Hamilton has had an extraordinary career - he's played with many of the jazz greats, led influential groups, introduced talented musicians, written for film and for commercials and more. The discs reviewed here are all part of a joint 2006 release designated ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chico Hamilton: The Original Chico Hamilton Quintet Complete Studio Recordings

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How do you make chamber jazz? Chico Hamilton did it utilizing a guitarist, a cellist, a bassist, a reedman, and of course a drummer. Lone Hill Jazz has reissued the complete studio recordings of this unusual yet intriguing quintet, augmented by two additional tracks from the same era, one by the string trio from the above quintet and one by the Gerry Mulligan Quartet with Chico Hamilton on drums. We should congratulate Lone Hill for releasing such valuable music in an attractive package yet again. The remastering of the sound is very good, but the bass is a bit hard ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Chico Hamilton Quintet: A Different Journey

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Chico Hamilton always maintained that the line-up on A Different Journey was his favorite of all his quintets, and it’s easy to see why; with both Gabor Szabo and Charles Lloyd on hand, some interesting ideas are going to emerge. By this time Hamilton had cast off the light, chamber jazz directions he pursued in the fifties in favor of the advances of Coltrane and Coleman. In Lloyd he chose a perfect musical director; his compositions are not based on melodic heads as much as they are springboards for challenging improvisation. Due to the talent in the front line, Hamilton ...



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