Jazz master celebrates birthday with four releases
Artist biography Forestorn "Chico" Hamilton
Official biography published on social media (December 12, 2016).
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's impact upon jazz includes the introduction of two unique and distinct sounds: first in 1955 with his Original Quintet which combines 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, and the tenor sax of Charles Lloyd.
Dynamic as ever in his eighties, Chico Hamilton has a resume that includes scores for film, original compositions, commercial jingles, 50 + albums as a leader, and countless international tours. Chico's recent cd release, "Believe", features his Euphoria group with Cary DeNigris on guitar, Paul Ramsey on bass, Evan Schwam on flute, tenor and soprano saxes, Andrew Hadro on flute, alto and baritone saxes, and Jeremy Carlstedt on percussion.
"Believe" also features Special Guest appearances from vocalist and R & B Diva Fontella Bass and trombonist George Bohanon. "Believe" is the second of four albums Chico will be releasing in 2006 in celebration of his 85th Birthday: released 1/10 was "Juniflip" which features guest appearances from legendary Love frontman Arthur Lee; criminally under-rated vocalist (and successful actor) Bill Henderson; and former Hamilton band members trombonist George Bohanon and bass trombonist Jimmy Cheatham.
Coming later in 2006 is "6th Avenue Romp" with Special Guest appearances from guitarist Shuggie Otis, trumpeter Jon Faddis, trombonist George Bohanon, vocalist Brenna Bavis and percussionist Jaimoe of the Allman Brothers Band; followed by "Heritage" with Special Guest appearances from vocalist Marya Lawrence and tromboist George Bohanon.
Over the years, Chico has had a series of dance floor successes, including his signature song "Conquistadors" from his 60's Impulse album "El Chico", and the Brazilian influenced song "Strut" from Chico's 1979 outing on Elektra "Nomad", which became so successful on the Northern Soul Scene in the U.K. that it had its own dance!! "Conquistadors" also was the signature track for E-man when he rocked the dance floor at Frank's Cocktail Lounge in Brooklyn.
In 2002 a track titled "For Mods Only" from Chico's 1968 Impulse album "The Dealer", was included on the Thievery Corporations "SOUNDS FROM THE VERVE HI-FI". This past Fall, Rong Music released the 12" vinyl Kerry's Caravan from Mudd & Chico Hamilton, a moody yet stunning slice of modern music and a molten melting pot ready made for filling the dance floor with remixes from long-term Idjut Boys collaborator and Fiasco imprint boss Ray Mang!! And the recent Impulsive! Remix Project features Mark De Clive Lowes take on Chicos classic 60s track El Toro.
In 1997, Chico Hamilton received the New School University Jazz & Contemporary Music Programs Beacons in Jazz Award in recognition for his "significant contribution to the evolution of Jazz". In 2002, Chico was awarded the WLIU-FM Radio Lifetime Achievement Award. At the IAJE in NYC January 2004, Hamilton was awarded a NEA Jazz Master Fellowship, presented to him by Roy Haynes. And in 2007, Chico will receive a Living Legacy Jazz Award as part of The Kennedy Centers Jazz in Our Time Festival.
Chico Hamilton is presently teaching at New School University Jazz Program; touring extensively in North America with "Euphoria" group which includes Cary DeNigris on guitar, Paul Ramsey on bass, Evan Schwam on flute, tenor and soprano saxes, and Geoffrey Countryman on flute, alto and baritone saxes, and Jeremy Carlstedt on percussion; recording with his "Euphoria" group and special guests; composing and performing music for film; and working on autobiography.