Remembering Jazz Great Chico Hamilton


The New School community mourns jazz great Chico Hamilton, who was a founding teacher at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. Over his decades-long career, the legendary jazz drummer and band leader recorded more than 50 albums; performed with giants including Charles Mingus, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, and Duke Ellington; and led two highly influential bands marked by his signature “subtle and melodic approach.”

“Chico Hamilton was friend, colleague, mentor and jazz giant,” said New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music executive director Martin Mueller. “We have no greater or more central figure in our school history and community. Generations of New School jazz artists are his children and his legacy.”

Hamilton’s many honors include the Kennedy Center Living Jazz Legend Award, the 1997 Beacons in Jazz Award from The New School, a 2007 honorary doctorate from The New School, the WLIU-FM Radio Lifetime Achievement Award, and an NEA Jazz Master Fellowship.