Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Hamilton, Jeff

Hamilton, Jeff, drums, bandleader (b. Richmond, Indiana, August 4, 1953). Equally comfortable in big band or small group settings, Jeff Hamilton is one of the most versatile drummers in straight-ahead jazz today. Originally inspired by Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich, Hamilton was later impressed by Shelly Manne and Mel Lewis for their relaxed manner of accompaniment. In 1978, Hamilton replaced Manne in the L.A. Four. Prior to that, he had played in the New Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, the Lionel Hampton Big Band and the Woody Herman Young Thundering Herd. Other big band engagements include Count Basie, the Gene Harris Superband, Bill Holman, and the Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra, which he co-leads with bassist John Clayton and alto saxophonist Jeff Clayton. In small groups, he has played with trios led by Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown and Monty Alexander. He has led his own trio with pianist Tamir Hendelman and bassist Christoph Luty since 2001. Hamilton was one of the first major jazz musicians to hear Diana Krall. He introduced her to Ray Brown, which basically launched her career. Hamilton tours with Krall on a regular basis. He is In high demand for recording sessions, Hamilton has appeared on hundreds of albums by artists including Natalie Cole, Milt Jackson, Barbra Streisand, Mel Torme, Gene Harris, Clark Terry, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Dave Frishberg, Barney Kessel and Mark Murphy. His website is www.hamiltonjazz.com

Contributor: Thomas Cunniffe