The legendary jazz drummer Chico Hamilton performed at the music club DROM in New York City amidst great applause to celebrate his new 22-track release, Chico Hamilton: Revelation, as well as his 90th birthday. Happy Birthday, Chico!
Born Foreststorn Hamilton on September 20, 1921 in Los Angeles, California, "Chico" arrived during the jazz age, a time when jazz, too, was making its arrival. Thriving on the music of his birth, Chico has played with such jazz legends throughout the years as: Charles Mingus, Illinois Jacquet, Ernie Royal, Dexter Gordon, Buddy Collette and Jack Kelso, Lionel Hampton, Slim & Slam, T-Bone Walker, Lester Young, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Charlie Barnet, Billy Eckstine, Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis Jr., Billie Holiday, Gerry Mulligan, and Lena Horne, to name but a few. By the time he was 34, he was a bandleader, traveling the world and accumulating kudos and awards along the way.
Chico Being Chico
Having reviewed Chico Hamilton - Revelation CD in Luxury Experience - Music Scene, we were acquainted with the music on the release, however listening to a CD, and seeing and hearing Chico and his band play live was an incomparable experience.
Smartly dressed in a double-breasted tan suit with chocolate brown shirt, his hair drawn back into a ponytail, Chico Hamilton greeted the DROM audience on October 1, 2011 with an enthusiastic, "I'm glad to be here, I'm glad to be anywhere. You might not believe this, but I really am 90 years old." Introduction over, he picked up the drum sticks and set about making music backed by his band, Nick Demopoulos on Guitar and Vocals; Paul "Dr. Ramsey" Ramsey on Fender Bass, and Vocals; Evan Schwam on Tenor, Alto, and Soprano Saxes, Flute, Piccolo, and Vocals; Mayu Saeki on Flute, Alto Flute, and Piccolo, Vocals; and Jeremy Carlstedt: on Percussion, Drums, and Vocals.
"I'm Glad to be Here, I'm Glad to be Anywhere"
Chico opened the set with an introduction to the song, Brushes, where he said that the drum sticks imitated heels tapping doing the dance, the Charleston. Other great songs they played off the CD included Gena with an "e" that Evan Schwam wrote for his sister, Every Time I Smile, Evanly, First Light, Because I Care written by Jeremy Carlstedt, and Sugar Loaf. No Way LA was a request for "something that swings", and this master composition, did indeed do that.
Chico Hamilton and the Band
At 90 years, he still has the skill and the sass that has been his calling card throughout the years, at one point joking with the audience, "Here's one you will like, if you don't, it's just too bad." He kept the packed house audience swinging and swaying all night, tapping fingers and feet in time to the beat. Best of all though, were Chico's interesting anecdotes interspersed between the songs with great flair the way that a chef adds a dash of seasoning to enliven a recipe. Chico and his band indeed "cooked" the evening!
DROM accommodates a seated crowd of 150 in plush accommodations and a standing crowd of 350, features "global music for a new world" with live performances six nights a week and late night DJs and bands until 4:00 am.
For information on Chico Hamilton, please visit the website, www.JoyousShout.com.
For information on DROM please visit the website: www.DromNYC.com.
85 Ave A (between 5th & 6th Streets in the East Village
New York, NY 10009
© January 2012. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com All rights reserved.