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Album Review

The compilation Hamiltonia draws 13 tracks from Chico Hamilton's first four CDs for his own Joyous Shout label. Recorded over a 15-year period with various groups, the drummer is still very much a force to be reckoned with, both as a composer and a soloist. "Chicano Heritage" is a driving feature for the promising young guitarist Cary DeNigris, while the sassy blues showcases altoist Andrew Hadro, tenorist Evan Schwam, and guest trombonist George Bohannon. R&B vocalist Fontella Bass is added for the spiritual-flavored "Believe in Him." In addition to the mix of songs from previous releases, two songs were newly recorded for this collection. "Jeffrey Andrew Caddick" is a soft, easygoing salute to Hamilton's longtime publicist and executive producer, while the funky, Latin-flavored "Conquistadors 2007" is an updated treatment of a signature Hamilton rhythm with an updated melodic line, with the leader adding a vocal chant.


Born: September 21, 1921 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Chico Hamilton, a subtle and creative drummer, will probably always be remembered for the series of quintets that he led during 1955-1965 and for his ability as a talent scout than for his fine drumming. Hamilton first played drums while in high school with the many fine young players (including Dexter Gordon, Illinois Jacquet, and Charles Mingus) who were in Los Angeles at the time. He made his recording debut with Slim Gaillard, was house drummer at Billy Berg's, toured with Lionel Hampton, and...
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