Rest In Peace, Chico Hamilton

 

chico

Legendary jazz musician and leader of the Euphoria ensemble Chico Hamilton has passed away.

Coming up as a rising jazz drummer alongside other heavyweights such as Charles Mingus in high school, Chico played with Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, Gerry Mulligan and others, cementing himself as a force to be reckoned with early on.

In 1987, he helped found the New School University Jazz & Contemporary Music Program in NYC, a place dear to many of our hearts.

His ensembles helped develop talent like Gabor Szabo and Larry Coryell, amongst many others. Chico is also credited as an influence for many contemporary talents such as Carlos Santana, Joe Claussell, Jose James, Mark de Clive-Lowe and Thievery Corporation.

Honored as a “Living Jazz Legend” by the Kennedy Center and as an NEA Jazz Master, Chico Hamilton was seminal to the jazz community, culture, and history. Material from his October 2013 recordings with his Euphoria ensemble will be released as the The Inquiring Mind in early 2014.

We are grateful to have had Chico as part of our own history here at Giant Step as well – he will be sorely missed.

The ongoing event series, Celebrating the Life & Music of Foreststorn ‘Chico’ Hamilton will continue on December 15 at Drom in NYC. Come out and pay homage to one of the greats.

Chico Hamilton’s Twelve Tones of Love + Free Download

With his new album Twelve Tones of Love, Foreststorn ‘Chico’ Hamilton takes his listeners on a musical journey of his venerable career and the numerous people who have influenced it, celebrating his lifelong romance with music. Chico looks back not as a summation but with the past as a jumping off point to where he is now; the foundation to build off of what he has to say in the here and now.

Guest spots include trombonist George Bohanon, who was in one of Chico’s classic sixties ensembles; vocalist Jose James, who studied under Chico at The New School’s Jazz and Contemporary Music Program; and multi-reedist Jack Kelso, Chico’s lifelong friend.

Grab a free download of “Penthouse A” here.

Twelve Tones of Love is out now on Joyous Shout! More info here.