Chico Hamilton, drummer
birth name: Forestorn Hamilton

Chico Hamilton

September 21, 1921, Los Angeles, CA ~ November 26, 2013, New York City, NY

Anyone familiar with the sound of West Coast jazz from the 1950s knows the sound of Los Angeles-born drummer Chico Hamilton. A musician who often emphasized a subtle musical grace in his playing over snare-rattling runs, Hamilton helped forge the California sound dubbed “cool jazz” in the 1950s and launched the careers of a wealth of jazz artists both as a bandleader and an educator. ~ Los Angeles Times: Chico Hamilton Obituary ~ November 26, 2013 © Los Angeles Times

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September 21, 2014 ~ UK Top 100 ~ #3 (2) Lilly Wood & Robin schulz, Prayer In C ~ #2 (1) Calvin Harris featuring John Newman, Blame ~ #1 (-) Sigma featuring Paloma Faith, Changing


Had a fast track musical education in a band with his schoolmates Charles Mingus, Illinois Jacquet, Ernie Royal, Dexter Gordon, Buddy Collette and Jackie 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’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 Freddy 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 Bohannon. ~ All about Jazz: Chico Hamilton ~ retrieved September 20, 2013 © All About Jazz

Chico Hamilton ~ Awarded a 2004 NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) Jazz Masters Fellowship.

As a Session musician, guest or band member

Gerry Mulligan ~ Gerry Mulligan Quartet (1952) ~ Ranked #65 Jazzwise 100 Jazz Albums That Shook The World in 2006 ~ Mulligan first made a significant contribution to recorded jazz through his arrangements for Miles' so-called Birth Of The Cool sessions for Capitol, but it was the 1952 pianoless quartet that hit the headlines and made him (as well as trumpeter sidekick Chet Baker) virtually overnight celebrities. ~ 2006 © Jazzwise

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