The original Chico Hamilton Quintet was one of the last significant West Coast jazz bands of the cool era. Consisting of Buddy Collette on reeds (flute, clarinet, alto, and tenor), guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Carson Smith, and the drummer/leader, the most distinctive element in the group's identity was cellist Fred Katz. The band could play quite softly, blending together elements of bop and classical music into their popular sound and occupying their own niche. This six-CD, limited-edition box set from 1997 starts off with a Hamilton drum solo from a 1954 performance with the Gerry Mulligan Quartet; it contains three full albums and many previously unreleased numbers) by the original Chico Hamilton band and also has quite a few titles from the second Hamilton group (which has Paul Horn and John Pisano in the places of Collette and Hall).
This is another excellent effort by Chico Freeman, who is heard on tenor, flute and bass clarinet. The instrumentation varies on each selection during the LP, which also features trumpeter Wallace Roney, pianist Clyde Criner, bassist Cecil McBee, drummer Billy Hart, and Jack DeJohnette on drums and piano. Other than Thelonious Monk's "Jackie-ing" (Monk had recently passed away), the repertoire is comprised of originals by Freeman, McBee and Criner. Even if none of the songs individually caught on, they help set an exploratory yet fairly accessible mood, as Chico Freeman does his best to move the mainstream of jazz forward a bit.
An interesting if quite diverse set, this album is best remembered for featuring up-and-coming singer Bobby McFerrin on a few selections. McFerrin has his moments, as does tenor saxophonist Chico Freeman and such notable sidemen as altoist Steve Coleman, John Purcell on reeds, either Kenny Werner or Mark Thompson on piano, Freeman's longtime bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Billy Hart, among others. The material (by Freeman, Thompson and Werner) is actually not that significant, and the date on a whole is less memorable than many of Chico Freeman's earlier sets, but it has its enjoyable spots.
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. Quite possibly the best album to feature the talents of Chico Hamilton and Eric Dolphy – a set recorded at a time when Dolphy was an up-and-coming player on the west coast scene! Although Chico Hamilton had recorded with unusual reed players before, Dolphy brings a depth of soul and spirit to this album that's missing from a lot of Chico's earlier work at the time – a style that still holds onto some of the measured qualities of the Pacific Jazz work by the Hamilton group, yet which also opens up into some of the darker corners that Dolphy would explore more on his own recordings of the 60s.
A collection of some of the best numbers played by Brainstorm when the band made its highly successful debut at London's Ronnie Scott s Club! One of the most innovative and engaged small groups in contemporary improvised music. Brainstorm presents 74 electrifying minutes of inspired and wide-ranging music. As Ed Hazel has observed, Chico Freeman's style combines the energy and wide leaps of John Coltrane's later work with a classic conception of form and a strong sense of swing.
A totally excellent bit of funk from Chico Hamilton – working with a great group that more than helps their leader live up to the album's title! The record's a real lost gem – and it's got Chico working in much funkier territory than before, grooving with complicated rhythms, and a heavy sound that features lots of work on organ and guitar. Lowell George (of Little Feat fame) is playing slide guitar in the group, giving the sound a great, muddy propellant – which only gets stronger with the help of Simon Nava and Sam Clayton on congas, plus heavy organ and piano by Stu Garner, Jerry Aiello and Bill Payne. Includes the killer Latin groover "Conquistadores 74", plus "Stu", "Feels Good", "Fancy", "Stacy", Gengis" and "I Can Hear The Grass Grow".
Chico Hamilton Trio Introducing Freddie Gambrell is an album by drummer and bandleader Chico Hamilton released on the World Pacific label. Freddie Gambrell was a little known West Coast pianist playing at San Franciscos Bop City club when, in 1956, Chico Hamilton heard him for the first time. I was so impressed while listening to him play that I felt I must play with this guywhich often happens to a musician when he hears something that he really digs, especially if he is right there when its happeningand so I did, said Hamilton. Gambrells fresh, lively talent was immediately accepted throughout the jazz scene when his playing was heard on his first album, under Chico Hamiltons leadership.
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. Other than two selections put out on a sampler and the soundtrack from the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, this LP is quite significant for having the first recordings of Eric Dolphy with the Chico Hamilton Quintet. Dolphy's solos (on alto, flute and bass clarinet) are brief, but he already sounded fairly distinctive. The third version of Hamilton's popular Quintet also included the drummer/leader, cellist Nate Gershman, guitarist Dennis Budimir and bassist Wyatt Ruther. On this album, half of the tunes are played by the basic quintet, while the remaining five songs have an added string section. The West Coast jazz chamber music generally holds one's interest, but has been out of print for some time.