The legendary jazz drummer Chico Hamilton will be giving a free master class on Friday, February 10 at 4:00 p.m., in the Jazz Music Performance Space, at 55 West 13th Street, 5th floor, as part of The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music’s Eyes of the Masters series featuring top artists in an intimate setting.
An originating faculty member of the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, Hamilton was born in Los Angeles, California in 1921. 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 Horne established him as a jazz drummer, and he struck out on his own as a bandleader in 1955.
Over the years, his many successful bands undertook countless international tours, featuring Jim Hall, Buddy Collette, Charles Lloyd, Gabor Szabo, Eric Dolphy, Fred Katz, Larry Coryell, Richard Davis, New School Jazz Co-Founder Arnie Lawrence, Arthur Blythe, Steve Turre, Eric Person, and many other notable musicians. He has recorded for the record labels Columbia, Reprise, Impulse, Blue Note, Mercury Records, Nautilus, Elektra, Soul Note, and Joyous Shout!
Hamilton formed a commercial and film production company in 1965, and scored for numerous films as well as hundreds of commercials for TV and radio. He has also appeared in many feature films, including You’ll Never Get Rich (1941), Sweet Smell Of Success (1957), and Jazz On A Summer’s Day (1960)
Saluted by the Kennedy Center as a Living Jazz Legend, , and appointed to the National Council on the Arts, Chico Hamilton was also awarded NEA Jazz Master Fellowship, presented to him by Roy Haynes in 2004. In 2007, he received a Doctor of Fine Arts from The New School.