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Can't Help Swingin' (Reissue)

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Album Review

Jimmy Hamilton spent 25 years (1943-68) with Duke Ellington's Orchestra, gaining recognition as a technically skilled cool-toned clarinetist and an occasional (but underused) booting tenor player. His own recording projects were very infrequent and his two Swingville LPs (reissued in full on this 1999 CD) were formerly very scarce. For one of the dates (originally called It's About Time), Hamilton is matched in a sextet with flugelhornist Clark Terry, trombonist Britt Woodman, pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Wendell Marshall and drummer Mel Lewis for a set of mostly blues. Terry and Woodman are quite exuberant throughout. The Can't Help Swingin' album showcases Hamilton with pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Wendell Marshall and drummer Earl Williams in a quartet. Although Hamilton plays some clarinet (most notably on the atmospheric "Dancing on the Ceiling"), the emphasis throughout both sets is on his rarely heard tenor. He is less bop-oriented and more basic on the bigger horn than on his usual ax, swinging hard and showing just how strong a tenor player he could be. Worth exploring.

Customer Reviews

One of the Least Recognized "Top of the Heap" jazz clarinetists.

This album has to be in the collection of every jazz freak! Not only is Jimmy Hamilton in top form but the rest of this band are all the top guys too! Hamilton learned alot about music from boss Duke Ellington and Ellington learned alot about clarinet playing from Hamilton!


Born: May 25, 1917 in Dillon, SC

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

A longtime member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Jimmy Hamilton's cool vibrato-less tone and advanced style (which was ultimately influenced by bop) initially bothered some listeners more accustomed to Barney Bigard's warmer New Orleans sound, but Hamilton eventually won them over with his brilliant playing. As opposed to how he sounded on clarinet, Hamilton's occasional tenor playing was gutsy and emotional. Prior to joining Ellington, he had worked with Lucky Millinder, Jimmy Mundy, and most...
Full Bio
Can't Help Swingin' (Reissue), Jimmy Hamilton
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Bop
  • Released: Apr 01, 1961

Customer Ratings