Courtesy the Fraser MacPherson estate
|Birth name||Milton John Hilton|
June 23, 1910|
Vicksburg, Mississippi, United States
|Died||December 19, 2000
Queens, New York, United States
|Genres||Traditional Jazz. Swing, Pop Music|
|Occupation(s)||Double bassist, Photographer|
|Years active||80 years|
|Associated acts||Jabbo Smith, Zutty Singleton, Art Tatum, Eddie South, Cab Calloway, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Benny Goodman, Clark Terry, Hank Jones, Branford Marsalis|
Hinton was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, where he resided until age eleven when he moved to Chicago, Illinois. He attended Wendell Phillips High School and Crane Junior College. While attending these schools, he learned first to play the violin, and later bass horn, tuba, cello and the double bass. As a young violinist out of school, he found gainful employment as a bassist. He later recounted in interviews, released in 1990 on Old Man Time, how this prompted him to switch to double bass.
In the late 1920s and early 1930s, he worked as a freelance musician in Chicago. During this time, he worked with famous jazz musicians such as Jabbo Smith, Eddie South, and Art Tatum. In 1936, he joined a band led by Cab Calloway. Members of this band included Chu Berry, Cozy Cole, Dizzy Gillespie, Illinois Jacquet, Jonah Jones, Ike Quebec, Ben Webster, and Danny Barker.
Hinton possessed a formidable technique and was equally adept at bowing, pizzicato, and "slapping," a technique for which he became famous while playing with the big band of Cab Calloway from 1936 to 1951. Unusually for a double bass player, Hinton was frequently given the spotlight by Calloway, taking virtuoso bass solos in tunes like "Pluckin' the Bass."
As well as being a famous jazz musician, Hinton at the same time worked as a studio musician. He was part of a large group of studio musicians who played on dozens of hit records written by songwriters who worked at the Brill Building. He was responsible for the opening bass line on The Drifters "Under the Boardwalk" as well as playing on dozens of hits recorded by Neil Sedaka and many others.
Hinton played a rare Gofriller Double Bass during his latter career. The bass was in pieces in a cellar in Italy and a musical agent arranged the purchase from the family for Hinton. Hinton in his autobiography Bass Line described the tone as magnificent and said it was one of the reasons for his long success in the New York recording studios in the 1950s, and 1960s.
Also a fine photographer, Hinton documented many of the great jazz musicians via photographs he took over the course of his career. Hinton was one of the best friends of jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong.
- 1955: Milt Hinton Bethlehem High Fidelity
- 1955: Basses Loaded
- 1955: Milt Hinton Quartet Bethlehem High Fidelity
- 1956 : The Rhythm Section Epic
- 1975: Here Swings the Judge Progressive
- 1977: The Trio (Chiaroscuro Records)
- 1984: Back to Bass-ics Progressive
- 1984: The Judge's Decision Exposure
- 1990: Old Man Time Chiaroscuro
- 1994: The Trio: 1994 Chiaroscuro
- 1994: Laughing at Life
With John Benson Brooks
With Kenny Burrell
With Curtis Fuller
With Dizzy Gillespie
- The Complete RCA Victor Recordings (Bluebird, 1937-1949, )
With Gigi Gryce
- Gigi Gryce (MetroJazz, 1958)
With Lionel Hampton
- You Better Know It!!! (Impulse!, 1965)
With Langston Hughes
- Weary Blues (MGM, 1958)
With Milt Jackson
- The Ballad Artistry of Milt Jackson (Atlantic, 1959)
With Willis Jackson
- Cool "Gator" (Prestige, 1960)
- Blue Gator (Prestige, 1960)
- Cookin' Sherry (Prestige, 1960)
- Together Again! (Prestige, 1960 ) - with Jack McDuff
- Together Again, Again (Prestige, 1960 ) - with Jack McDuff
With Elvin Jones
- Time Capsule (Vanguard, 1977)
With Mundell Lowe
- New Music of Alec Wilder (Riverside, 1956)
With Johnny Lytle
- Got That Feeling! (Riverside, 1963)
With Helen Merrill
With Charles Mingus
- The Complete Town Hall Concert (Blue Note, 1962 )
- Charles Mingus and Friends in Concert (Columbia, 1972)
With Ike Quebec
- Heavy Soul (Blue Note, 1961)
- It Might as Well Be Spring (Blue Note 1961)
- Easy Living (Blue Note, 1962)
With Sonny Stitt
- Broadway Soul (Colpix, 1965)
- The Matadors Meet the Bull (Roulette, 1965)
- I Keep Comin' Back! (Roulette, 1966)
- Remembered (Arbors Records)
With Sylvia Syms
- Sylvia Is! (Prestige, 1965)
With Clark Terry
- The Happy Horns of Clark Terry (Impulse!, 1964)
With Ben Webster
- The Soul of Ben Webster (Verve, 1958)
- Keepnews, Peter (December 21, 2000). "Milt Hinton, Dean of Jazz Bassists, Is Dead at 90". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-08.
- "Milt Hinton: NEA Jazz Master and Master Photographer of Jazz". Retrieved 2008-10-08.
- Lord, Tom. "The Jazz Discography".
- Eds. (November 12, 2008). "Milt Hinton: The Ultimate Timekeeper". JAZZ PROFILES. NPR. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
- "Milt Hinton Photographs of Jazz Artists". Retrieved 2008-10-08.