Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music



(b Foreststorn Hamilton, 21 September 1921, Los Angeles CA; d 25 November 2013, NYC) Drummer, bandleader. He started on clarinet; played with schoolmates Charles Mingus, Illinois Jacquet, Ernie Royal (b 2 June 1921, Los Angeles; d 16 March 1983: played trumpet with many bands including Count Basie, Woody Herman). Worked with Lionel Hampton, Lester Young; studied drums during WWII with Jo Jones; worked as house drummer at Billy Berg's club in Hollywood. First recorded with Slim and Slam '41; worked with Lena Horne '48-55; studio work included the soundtrack of Bing Crosby/Bob Hope Road To Bali '52, but meanwhile prominent in West Coast 'cool jazz' movement: with original pianoless Gerry Mulligan quartet '52, then his own quintet with Buddy Collette, Jim Hall and Fred Katz on cello (album Tanganyika '54 co-led by Collette was reissued on V.S.O.P.), featured in film Sweet Smell Of Success '57; other groups with Charles Lloyd, Gabor Szabo; first to employ Eric Dolphy '58.

Hamilton recorded drum solos 'Drums West' '55, 'Mr Jo Jones' '56 on World Pacific; 'Happy Little Dance', 'Trinkets', 'No Speaks No English Man' on WB '59; always searching for new sounds, he was one of the first to take the bottoms off the drums and often used mallets. He did the music for the French film Repulsion '65 and toured with Horne again that year. By now based in NYC, his successful jingle company and studio work occupied him, but he began playing and touring again '70s including Montreux, Reunion TV special '75 with Collette and Katz, much other TV and film work.

Albums on Pacific Jazz/World Pacific '53-8 included four trio sets and five quintets. With Dolphy: two tracks for Pacific Jazz, two from Newport Jazz Festival issued on Italian label, two LPs on WB (one with strings), all '58. A sextet on World Pacific featured Katz, Hall, Carson Smith on bass, Collette and Paul Horn, reeds; quintet sets on WB (Gongs East later on Discovery) and That Hamilton Man on Sesac (called The 1959 Quintet on Jazz Legacy and Jazz Vault) including Dolphy. Columbia albums '60-1 included Lloyd and Szabo, as did Transfusion '62 originally on Impulse. A Reprise album '63 was also issued on WB, but the Impulse albums continued through '66 with a quintet with Lloyd and Szabo (including Passin' Thru and Man From Two Worlds; the latter made the Billboard top 200 albums), also The Further Adventures Of El Chico (a quintet with Charlie Mariano and Ron Carter plus Latin percussion) and The Dealer (a quartet with Larry Coryell, yet another Hamilton discovery, who'd replaced Szabo). The Gamut on Solid State '67 had a nonet including four trombones, plus vocals by Jackie Arnold; two more on that label '74-5 included El Exigente, also issued on Flying Dutchman. Peregrinations and Chico Hamilton And The Players on Blue Note '75-6 both included Arthur Blythe; Reaching For The Top '78 was on Nautilus and Nomad on Elektra.
He did not record much in the '80s; then the original quintet's Reunion '89 made in Milan had Katz, Collette, John Pisano on piano, Carson Smith on drums; and the electric quartet Euphoria made Arroyo '90 on Soul Note with Cary DeNigris on guitar, Eric Person on reeds, Reggie Washington on bass: they had been with Ronald Shannon Jackson's group, and the up-to-date lineup demonstrated Hamilton's versatility and his ability, nay willingness, to showcase talent. Trio! '92 had just DeNigris and Person; My Panamanian Friend '92 had Kenny Davis on bass (Person led DeNigris and Davis on trio Prophecy '93, also on Soul Note). Dancing To A Different Drummer '93 on Soul Note is a solo drum record which might have made a better teaching video. Euphoria toured '96 with DeNigris, Person and Kip Reed on electric bass.

Fred Katz (b 25 February 1919, NYC; d 7 September 2013, Santa Monica CA) brought the cello to jazz and had been an integral part of one of the most admired jazz small-groups of its era; he was still composing at age 94. In 2012 Fresh Sounds reissued three Katz albums: Soul Cello, 4-5-6 Trio, and Fred Katz and his Jammers in a two-CD set called Fred Katz and His Music. His collaboration with bassist Hal Gaylor (d 25 June 2015 aged 85) was a highlight of Third Stream music in the middle of the last century.