A picture of Representative Charles B. Rangel
Charles R.
Democrat NY 13

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  • In Remembrance of American Jazz Drummer and Band- Leader Chico Hamilton

    by Representative Charles B. Rangel

    Posted on 2014-01-14

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    RANGEL of new york in the house of representatives Tuesday, January 14, 2014 Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Speaker, today I rise to honor legendary American Jazz drummer and composer Chico Hamilton who passed away on November 25, 2013 at the age of 92 in New York. Chico Hamilton was a dear friend and an inspiration to countless of musicians and jazz enthusiasts worldwide. The California-born musician was famous for his unique cool melodic sound that forever revolutionized how jazz drums were played and incorporated into music. Although I speak with grief of such an overwhelming loss, I ascend to rejoice a life well lived and proudly remember the accomplishments of such a remarkable musician and artist.

    Mr. Hamilton was born Foreststorn Hamilton in Los Angeles on September 21, 1921. A passionate drummer, he played in high school jazz bands alongside, his good friend and famous saxophonist Dexter Gordon. As a teenager, Mr. Hamilton quickly made a name for himself and earned a place touring with Lionel Hampton's famed big band. Not only was Mr. Hamilton a talented musician, but he also proudly served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Upon his return, his love of music led him to greatness, as he played alongside artists like Count Basie, Jimmy Mundy, and Charlie Barnet. Mr. Hamilton would soon find overwhelming success after starting his own quintet in 1955.

    The Chico Hamilton Quintet was celebrated for its distinctive laid- back swing style and fusion of creative sound; it soon became a staple at many major jazz festivals, clubs and college campuses for decades. Even as recently as this past October, Mr. Hamilton performed for passionate music fans regularly at Manhattan's Drom. Throughout his illustrious career, Mr. Hamilton recorded over 60 albums as a leader on several prominent recording labels, including: Columbia, Soul Note, Impulse and Pacific Jazz. His work has been eternalized in many classical films and musicals, including ``Sweet Smell of Success'' and ``You'll Never Get Rich,'' with Fred Astaire.

    Most notably, Mr. Hamilton was a dedicated great-grandfather, grandfather, father and husband who is survived by his daughter Denise Hamilton; his brother Don; one granddaughter and two great- granddaughters. He will be forever remembered for his work as a pioneering jazz drummer and his dedication to his family.

    Mr. Speaker, rather than mourn his passing, I hope that my colleagues will join me in celebrating the life of my friend Chico Hamilton by remembering that he exemplified greatness in every way.


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