Scott Hamilton (musician)

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Scott Hamilton
Scott Hamilton & Ray Brown.jpg
Ray Brown and Scott Hamilton in 1979
Background information
Also known as Hamfat
Born (1954-09-12) September 12, 1954 (age 60)
Origin Providence, Rhode Island
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Tenor saxophone,
Years active 1970s–present
Associated acts Gene Harris,

Scott Hamilton (born 12 September 1954) is an American jazz tenor saxophonist, associated with swing (music) and mainstream jazz.


He emerged in the 1970s and at the time he was considered to be one of the few musicians of real talent who carried forward the tradition of the classic jazz tenor saxophone in the style of Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins as well as Zoot Sims and Don Byas. He began playing in various rhythm & blues outfits in Providence (Rhode Island), but subsequently shifted to jazz and the tenor saxophone. In 1976 he moved to New York City, in part at the recommendation of Roy Eldridge. He there joined Benny Goodman for a period of time and in 1977 recorded his debut album for Concord Records, with whom he would have a long recording career in his own name and as one of their Concord Jazz All Stars. He also worked as a backing musician for singer Rosemary Clooney and others.

In the early 1980s he had formed his own quintet and toured all over the world. By then free from his drinking habit, in 1982 he had matured sufficiently to be able to break away from the spell of mainly Ben Webster and Zoot Sims, whom he had been criticized of imitating. From this point on both his playing and his tone were very much his own.

Living in New York City, he toured all around the world during the 1980s, playing Japan and all over Europe. He was in particular a recurrent visitor to the UK, Sweden and the Grande Parade du Jazz, held in Nice, France. By the early 1990s he was ready for a next step and by 1994 when he released Organic Duke, he had developed a quite singular style: a large, well-rounded but still focused tone and improvising, ostensibly still based on the swing idiom (especially Ellington), but incorporating more modern elements. During this period, he relocated to London, and formed his current quartet, featuring British musicians John Pearce (p), Dave Green (b) and Steve Brown (dr), with whom he recorded East of the Sun in 1993. (East of the Sun features Brian Lemon on piano, not John Pearce.). He is currently active touring all over Europe.

In 2007 he made a guest appearance at the Brecon Jazz Festival accompanied by Humphrey Lyttelton and his Band. Part of this concert was shown on BBC4 as Humph's Last Stand, as a tribute to Lyttelton after his death in 2008.

2013 through November 2014, Scott Hamilton has featured prominently with Andrea Motis, Joan Chamorro Quintet, backing the acclaimed Spanish jazz singer with his celebrated tenor saxophone, notably in Spain at Barcelona’s Jamboree Club, but also at other venues in Europe. Hamilton has also featured—alongside Motis and Chamorro—with the San Andreu Jazz Band, a Barcelona based young jazz musician group, created and directed by Joan Chamorro.


Andy Hamilton and Scott Hamilton in March 2007. Photo by Dick Jones
From left to right : Junior Mance, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Lou Donaldson, Scott Hamilton, Martin Rivera and Harry "Sweets" Edison in May 1980
Scott Hamilton, 6 December 2014, Masterclass in Antony (France)

He has recorded over forty albums as a lead including the following on Carl Jefferson's Concord Records label, except where marked.

  • Bob Wilber with The Scott Hamilton Quartet (1977) (Chiaroscuro)
  • Scott Hamilton Is a Good Wind Who Is Blowing Us No Ill (1977)
  • Scott Hamilton 2 (1978)
  • With Scott's Band in New York City (1978)
  • Grand Appearance (1978) (Progressive Records)
  • No Bass Hit (1978)
  • Tenorshoes (1979)
  • Tour De Force (1982)
  • Close Up (1982)
  • The Scott Hamilton Quintet In Concert (1984)
  • The Second Set (1984)
  • A First (1984)
  • Uptown (1985)
  • A Sailboat in the Moonlight (Ruby Braff with Scott Hamilton) (1986)
  • Soft Lights & Sweet Music (Gerry Mulligan meets Scott Hamilton) (1986)
  • Major League (1986)
  • The Right Time (1986)
  • A Sound Investment (1987)
  • Scott Hamilton Plays Ballads (1989)
  • Radio City (1990)
  • At Last (1990) with pianist Gene Harris
  • Race Point (1992)
  • Scott Hamilton with Strings (1992),[1] arranged by pianist Alan Broadbent
  • Groovin' High (1996) with Spike Robinson and Ken Peplowski
  • East Of The Sun (1993) with his UK-based trio
  • Organic Duke (1994)
  • Live at Brecon Jazz Festival (1995)
  • My Romance (1996)
  • After Hours (1997)
  • Christmas Love Song (1997)
  • Red Door: Remember Zoot Sims (1998)
  • Blues, Bop And Ballads (1999)
  • Ballad Essentials (2000)
  • Jazz Signatures (2001) with the John Bunch Trio
  • Live In London (2003) with his quartet
  • Back In New York (2005)
  • Nocturnes And Serenades(2006)
  • Zootcase (2006) with Alan Barnes and David Newton (Woodville Records)
  • Across The Tracks (2008)
  • Swedish Ballads...& More (2013)(Charleston Square Recordings CSR-421-2)
  • Live at Jamboree (2014) Andrea Motis Joan Chamorro Quintet with Scott Hamilton, Ignasi Terraza, Josep Traver & Esteve Pi


External links[edit]