Influential jazz drummer and bandleader Foreststorn "Chico" Hamilton has passed away. He died on November 25, 2013 at the age of 92.
Chico Hamilton's resume includes scores for film, original compositions, commercial jingles, over fifty albums as a band leader, and countless international tours.
Chico was born as Forestorn Hamilton in Los Angeles, California on September 20, 1921.
He started his career 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 Barnet, Billy Eckstine, Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis Jr., Billie Holiday, Gerry Mulligan and six years with Lena Horne established his career.
Chico recorded his first album as leader in 1955. That same year he formed the Chico Hamilton Quintet, an unusual quintet featuring cello, flute, guitar, bass and drums.
Chico performed at Montreux Jazz Festival in 1972 and 1973, then formed a new group called Players in 1975.
Between 1976-80 the drummer and band leader toured with an outfit called Players using different personnel, and recorded albums for Blue Note, Mercury Records, and Elektra. Originating faculty member in 1987 of New School University Jazz and Contemporary Music Program.
Chico formed another group named Euphoria in 1987, with whom he recorded and toured as well.
Awards In 1997, Chico received the New School University Jazz and Contemporary Music Programs Beacons in Jazz Award in recognition for his significant contribution to the evolution of Jazz. In 2002, he was awarded the WLIU-FM Radio Lifetime Achievement Award. At the IAJE in NYC January 2004, he was awarded a NEA Jazz Master Fellowship, presented to him by Roy Haynes.
In December 2006, Congress confirmed the President's nomination of Chico Hamilton to the Presidents Council on the Arts.
And in 2007, Chico Hamilton received a Living Legend Jazz Award as part of The Kennedy Center Jazz in Our Time Festival, as well as receiving a Doctor of Fine Arts from The New School.
Active until his last years Despite his age, Chico Hamilton stayed an active musician. Coming off a health setback during the Summer of 2010, Chicho and his group Euphoria began sheding at weekly rehearsals at his New York penthouse.
In March of 2011, with his 90th birthday six months off, Chico trekked out of his New York City penthouse apartment to helm a marathon recording session resulting in 28 new tracks!
Chico Hamilton is survived by his daughter, Denise; his brother Don; one granddaughter and two great-granddaughters.