Marking Chico's 90th Birthday, Previewed by Two EPs
NEW YORK: The sage drummer/bandleader and NEA Jazz Master Foreststorn Chico" Hamilton is slated to premiere 28 tracks on a trio of releases this Fall 2011marking the legend's 90th birthday on September 20th . Revered for laying down flawless rhythms, Chico recorded a wealth of new, original material to be presented in three courses: Revelation CD marking Chico's 60th album to date; and two EPs, Revelation and Euphoric. A testament to his strength as a bandleader, Chico assembled talent both young and old: Paul Ramsey on bass; Nick Demopoulos on guitar; Evan Schwam on flute & reeds; Mayu Saeki on flute; and Jeremy Carlstedt on drums and percussion.
With 60 albums as a leader, many more as a sideman, and a track record spanning nearly 70 years, Chico may be living proof that creativity is the fountain of youth. While rehabilitating from a health setback during the Summer of 2010, Chico spent countless hours composing, rehearsing, and conjuring up new works in his midtown Manhattan apartment. With the help of his group's intrepid rehearsal schedule, Chico was revitalized and subsequently, served as the impetus for three different recordings that portray this Revelation."
Having a reputation as one of the most polished, adventurous, and inquisitive drummers in jazz, as well as that of being an adept composer," (Jazz Times) Chico couples his master storytelling with his music of breadth, depth, and surprise.
His latest album, the 22-track Revelation CD, takes listeners on a visceral journey that oscillates from a melodic point of view to a rhythmic one and is bookended by Chico on drum kit. Works include: the up-tempo Latin groove of Evanly," funk of Black Eyed Peas," Lunceford-like band vocals on Stompin @ The Savoy"; the mid tempo swing of No Way LA," and the pastoral melodic beauty of You're Not Alone," to name a few.
On September 13th, Chico releases an EP double- header. The Revelation EP (10" vinyl), which features tracks off of the Revelation CD, pays homage to Chico's very first 1955 recording as a leader, Chico Hamilton Trio (10" vinyl) on Pacific Jazz with Howard Roberts & George Duvivier. As fresh and vibrant as the first, Revelation" EP is a fitting tribute to Chico's longevity as a leader. In addition, the Euphoric EP serves as Chico's proverbial salute to his group of 24 years, Euphoria. The recording features some of the band members' original compositions.
About Chico Hamilton
Legendary jazz drummer and bandleader Foreststorn Chico" Hamilton is dynamic as ever at 89. Chico is busy working on his video memoir, composing and performing music for film, and working on additional album releases. Saluted by the Kennedy Center as a Living Jazz Legend," and appointed to the National Council on the Arts, Chico is considered one of the most important living jazz artists and composers. Chico has a resume that includes scores for film, original compositions, commercial jingles, 60+ albums as a leader, and countless international tours.
Born in Los Angeles, Chico had a fast track musical education in a band with his schoolmates 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 Barnett, Billy Eckstine, Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis Jr., Billie Holiday, Gerry Mulligan and six years with Lena Horne established this young West Coast prodigy as a jazz drummer on the rise, before striking out on his own as a bandleader in 1955. Over the next several years, Chico would become instrumental in developing the West Coast's cool jazz sound. Some of the varying awards bestowed on him over his lifetime include: the New School University Jazz & Contemporary Music Program's Beacons in Jazz Award; the WLIU-FM Radio Lifetime Achievement Award; a NEA Jazz Master Fellowship, presented to him by Roy Haynes.
Chico Hamilton + Euphoria CD Concert Series: Saturday 10/1 @ 9:30PM; Sunday 11/6 @ 7:30PM; Sunday 12/4 @ 7:30PM at DROM (85 Avenue A), NYC, www.dromNYC.com Tracks: Brushes, Evanly, No Way LA, Song for Lynne, Paul Ain't Home, Evan's Along, P & E, Stompin' at the Savoy, Because I Care, Ten Minutes to Twelve, Don't Go Away, Every Time I Smile, Gena, Midnight on Montrose Ave, Dilemma, EHH, You're Not Alone, Do With What, Do What With, It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing), Phyllis, Black Eyed Peas, Footprints in the Sand, EP
Performers: Chico Hamilton (drums + vocals), Nick Demopoulos (guitar + vocals), Paul Ramsey (fender bass + vocals), Evan Schwam (tenor, alto, & soprano saxophones, flute, piccolo & vocals), Mayu Saeki (flute, alto flute, piccolo + vocals), Jeremy Carlstedt (percussion, drums + vocals), Lynne Schwam (flute)