|Birth name||Howard Robert Hammer|
March 3, 1930 |
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
|Occupation(s)||Pianist, composer, arranger|
|Associated acts||Charles Mingus|
Hammer was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He began performing in Michigan at age 15 before studying at Michigan State University and the Manhattan School of Music. 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. During the early 1960s, he studied with composer Henry Brant (alongside Tom McIntosh and Julian Priester).
Hammer led a band with Bob Wilber (1955). He worked in the Sauter/Finnegan Orchestra, the Roy Eldridge Quartet (1956) and with Gene Krupa (1956/57). He was a member of Red Allen's band (1958–1962) and Eddie Condon's (1959/60) band. At that time he recorded with Charles Mingus (who called him his "Beethoven") and began to work as arranger for the bassist on Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus, Townhall Concert and the celebrated The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady. In 1963 he 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, Johnny Hartman, Woody Herman, Clark Terry, 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, he 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 Newsome 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 or Tim Hickey.
With Johnny Hartman
- The Voice That Is! (Impulse!, 1964)
With Jimmy Knepper
- A Swinging Introduction to Jimmy Knepper (Bethlehem 1957)
With Charles Mingus
- A Modern Jazz Symposium of Music and Poetry (Bethlehem, 1957)
With Charles Mingus
- The Complete Town Hall Concert (Blue Note, 1962 )
- Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus (Impulse!, 1963)
- The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (Impulse!, 1963)
- Feather, Leonard; Gitler, Ira (2007) . "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.
- 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.