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.