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Chico Hamilton

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Legendary jazz drummer and bandleader Foreststorn ‘Chico’ Hamilton, born September 21st, 1921 in Los Angeles, had a fast track musical education in a band with his schoolmates Charles Mingus, Illinois Jacquet, Ernie Royal, Dexter Gordon, Buddy Collette and Jack Kelso. Engagements with Lionel Hampton, Slim & Slam, T-Bone Walker, Lester Young, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Charlie Barnett, Billy Eckstine, Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis Jr., Billie Holiday, Gerry Mulligan and six years with Lena Horne established this young West Coast prodigy as a jazz drummer on the rise, before striking out on his own as a bandleader in 1955. Chico appears in the March Milastaire number in the film “You'll Never Get Rich” (1941) as part of the backing group supporting Fred Astaire, and performed on the soundtrack of the Bing Crosby/Bob Hope film “Road to Bali”. Chico’s impact upon jazz includes the introduction of two unique and distinct sounds: first in 1955 with his Original Quintet which combined the sounds of his drums, the bass of Carson Smith, the guitar of Jim Hall, the cello of Fred Katz, and the flute of Buddy Collette; and the second in 1962 with his own drums, the bass of Albert Stinson, the guitar of Gabor Szabo, the tenor sax of Charles Lloyd, and the trombone of George Bohanon. Recorded first lp as leader in '55 with George Duvivier and Howard Roberts for Pacific Jazz; in '55 formed an unusual quintet in L.A

News: Video / DVD

Chico Hamilton: A Different Journey

Chico Hamilton: A Different Journey

Last week, after my post on Bobby Hutcherson's Oblique, featuring Albert Stinson on bass, Bill Kirchner reminded me of Chico Hamilton's A Different Journey, featuring a superb Hamilton-led quintet that included Stinson. Recorded for Reprise in January 1963 in San Francisco, the quintet was comprised of George Bohanon (tb), Charles Lloyd (fl,ts,as), Gabor Szabo (g), Albert ...

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Article: Under the Radar

A Different Drummer, Part 4: The Zildjian Legacy

Read "A Different Drummer, Part 4: The Zildjian Legacy" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


They are the oldest family-owned business in the world, recognized globally by musicians from every genre. The Avedis Zildjian Company--known simply as Zildjian --traces its history to the ancient cymbals of the Middle East and Asia. Almost four hundred years ago, Avedis, an Armenian metalsmith and alchemist in seventeenth-century Istanbul, discovered an alloy of tin, copper, ...

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Article: Hardly Strictly Jazz

Marty Sheller: The Name Behind The Sound You All Know, Part 1

Read "Marty Sheller: The Name Behind The Sound You All Know, Part 1" reviewed by Skip Heller


There are certain musicians who embody eras, even if they're not the player with their picture on the cover. In our contemporary musical climate, Greg Leisz comes to mind. Since 1991, he has popped up on hundreds of acclaimed albums, and without ever really changing his style, he has become centrifugal beyond the considerations of genre ...

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Article: Album Review

Charles Lloyd: Tone Poem

Read "Tone Poem" reviewed by Eric Gudas


Charles Lloyd and The Marvels' April 2017 performance at UCLA's Royce Hall, with guest vocalist Lucinda Williams, was nothing but highlights--from Lloyd's dance moves across the stage as one or other of his bandmates soloed, to Williams' impassioned performances on such songs as Bob Dylan's “Masters of War" and Jimi Hendrix's “Angel." They also played a ...

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Article: Album Review

Marc Copland: John

Read "John" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


Pianist Marc Copland crossed paths with guitarist John Abercrombie in the early '70s, playing in drummer Chico Hamilton's group. Copland was, at the time, a saxophonist. The collaboration there began a fifty year friendship and multiple Abercrombie/Copland collaborations . Abercrombie passed away in 2017. John is Copland's eulogy for him, solo piano renditions of a set ...

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Article: Hardly Strictly Jazz

2020 and Me

Read "2020 and Me" reviewed by Skip Heller


As I type this, it is December 8, 2020, the fortieth anniversary of John Lennon's murder. I was then a newly-minted barband guitarist, fifteen years old and thinking how the world —via the election of Ronald Reagan —and music had just suffered the worst season that could ever be. 2020 has been an ongoing ...

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Article: Album Review

Marc Copland: John

Read "John" reviewed by Mark Sullivan


Pianist Marc Copland met guitarist John Abercrombie when he first went to New York as an alto saxophonist, playing with him in Chico Hamilton's quartet in 1971. Copland returned to New York as a pianist in the early 1980s, and first recorded with Abercrombie on the album That's For Sure (Challenge, 2001), followed by several others. ...

News: Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Chico Hamilton

Jazz Musician of the Day: Chico Hamilton

All About Jazz is celebrating Chico Hamilton's birthday today! Legendary jazz drummer and bandleader Foreststorn ‘Chico’ Hamilton, born September 21st, 1921 in Los Angeles, had a fast track musical education in a band with his schoolmates Charles Mingus, Illinois Jacquet, Ernie Royal, Dexter Gordon, Buddy Collette and Jack Kelso. Engagements with Lionel Hampton, Slim & Slam, ...

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Article: SoCal Jazz

Steve Khan: A Rich Discography and A Priceless Left Hand

Read "Steve Khan: A Rich Discography and A Priceless Left Hand" reviewed by Jim Worsley


The life and times of guitarist extraordinaire Steve Khan stretch through a high volume of evolving chapters that fuse together like the passages of a finely crafted arrangement. An expansive conversation with Khan touched on a variety of memories. Still, this is perhaps the Reader's Digest version of the seventy-three years old musician and composer's remarkable ...


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