Bob Hammer

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Bob Hammer
Bob Hammer performing at The Royal Room on May 9, 2018
Bob Hammer performing at The Royal Room on May 9, 2018
Background information
Birth nameHoward Robert Hammer
Born(1930-03-03)March 3, 1930
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
DiedDecember 26, 2021 (aged 91) Chehalis, Washington
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, arranger
Years active1940s–2021

Howard Robert "Bob" Hammer (born March 3, 1930 - December 26, 2021)[1][2] was an American jazz pianist, composer and arranger.


Hammer was born in Indianapolis, Indiana.[1][2] He began performing in Michigan at age 15 before studying at Michigan State University and the Manhattan School of Music.[1] Hammer had familiarized himself with early jazz styles (his father had performed with territory bands during the 1930s), and while living in New York, he performed with musicians such as Red Allen and Bud Freeman.[2] During the early 1960s, he studied with composer Henry Brant (alongside Tom McIntosh and Julian Priester).[2]

Hammer led a band with Bob Wilber (1955). He worked in the Sauter/Finnegan Orchestra,[1] the Roy Eldridge Quartet (1956) and with Gene Krupa[1] (1956/57). He was a member of Red Allen's[1] band (1958–1962) and Eddie Condon's (1959/60) band. At that time, he recorded with Charles Mingus[1] (who called him his "Beethoven"[This quote needs a citation]) and began to work as arranger for the bassist on Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus, Town Hall Concert and the celebrated The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady. In 1963, Hammer played with Pee Wee Russell, Krupa, and Eldridge. In 1964, he was on tour with Bobby Hackett. From 1965 to 1967, he worked as arranger for The Merv Griffin Show. He recorded with Jimmy Knepper,[1] Johnny Hartman,[1] Woody Herman,[1] Clark Terry,[1] and Elvin Jones. Between 1967 and 1982, he worked as a member of show bands in Las Vegas.

After moving to Los Angeles in 1983, Hammer had an engagement with Slide Hampton he worked as instructor for jazz improvisation at El Camino Community College and played in the Jimmy Cleveland Octet. He also worked with Barbara McNair, the Tommy Newsom Quartet, and the MDA Labor Day Telethon. In 2004, he recorded with Floyd Standifer's quintet. He also arranged dance charts for the Nicholas Brothers, Skip Cunningham, Chester Whitmore, Jacqueline Douget, Deborah Lysholm, and Tim J Hickey.


As leader[edit]

  • Beatlejazz (ABC-Paramount, 1964)[2]

As sideman[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Feather, Leonard; Gitler, Ira (2007) [1990]. "HAMMER, BOB (HOWARD ROBERT)". The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz (Google eBook). The Encyclopedia of Jazz. Oxford University Press. (unpaginated). ISBN 9780195320008. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
  2. ^ a b c d e Smith, Randy L. (Oct–Dec 2011). "Bob Hammer interview, September 15, 2009, Monroe, WA". Cadence Magazine. Redwood, NY: Cadnor Ltd. 37 (10-11-12 (398)): 7–17, 94. ISSN 0162-6973.