Chico Hamilton

Biography

Chico Hamilton (September 20, 1921) was born in Los Angeles, California. He had a fast-track musical education in a band with 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 Horneestablished him as a jazz drummer, and he struck out on his own as a bandleader in 1955.

Hamilton appeared 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 filmRoad to Bali.was born in Los Angeles, California. He had a fast-track musical education in a band with Charles Mingus, Illinois Jacquet, Ernie Royal, Dexter Gordon, Buddy Collette and Jack Kelso. Engagements withLionel 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 Horneestablished him as a jazz drummer, and he struck out on his own as a bandleader in 1955.

He recorded his first album as leader in 1955 with George Duvivier (double-bass) and Howard Roberts (jazz guitar) for Pacific Jazz. In same year Hamilton formed an unusual quintet in L.A. featuring cello, flute, guitar,bass and drums. The quintet has been described as one of the last important West Coast Jazz bands. The original personnel included flutist Buddy Collette, guitarist Jim Hall, cellist Fred Katz and bassist Jim Aton, who was later replaced by Carson Smith. Hamilton continued to tour, using different personnel, from 1957 to 1960. The group including flutist Paul Horn and John Pisano was featured in the film Sweet Smell of Success in 1957. The same group, this time including Nate Gershman and Eric Dolphy appeared in the filmJazz on a Summer's Day in 1960. He marked his first recordings with Eric Dolphy on With Strings AttachedGongs EastThe Three Faces of Chico, andThat Hamilton Man

Hamilton revamped his group in 1961 with Charles Lloyd, Gabor Szabo, George Bohanon and Albert Stinson, playing what has been described as "a moderate avant-gardism." The group recorded for Columbia, Reprise and Impulse Records and also recorded the soundtrack for the industrial film Lithoin 1962, the first American film to be shown behind the Iron Curtain. Hamilton formed a commercial and film production company in 1965; scored the feature films RepulsionMr. RicoBy DesignLiebe Auf Den Ersten BlickDie Sonnengottin, and A Practical Man; scored for television Portrait of Willie Mays and the popular children's series Gerald McBoing Boing, and scored hundreds of commercials for TV and radio.

On February 14, 2012 Hamilton recorded his latest album El Chico/Adventures of El Chico with Verve Music Group.