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