Scott Hamilton on View
On the few occasions when I’ve said hello to Scott Hamilton, he’s been just as shy and diffident as he is here with Peter Appleyard in a 1977 appearance in Toronto. Perhaps that’s why there’s a paucity of cover stories and interviews with the Providence native in the jazz press. When you combine his reticence with the fact that Hamilton has stuck with the tried and true since his emergence in the mid-70's, I suppose it’s easy for him to be taken for granted by editors looking for something trendier than masterful tenor saxophone playing on tunes of timeless beauty.
I happened upon this footage of Hamilton when I was looking for Peter Appleyard on YouTube. Appleyard died on July 18 at age 84 in Toronto. I heard the Canadian vibraphonist at last year's Montreal Jazz Festival, but even at 83 (you could have fooled me) he was in good form and as spry and garrulous as ever.
Appleyard toured with Benny Goodman in the 70’s and ‘80’s, and Hamilton was on BG’s band at various times during that period. Here's the tenor man with Goodman’s Septet featuring Warren Vache, Chris Flory, John Bunch, Phil Flanigan, and Mel Lewis in 1982 playing "That's A Plenty."
Hamilton has been a pacesetter for the modern mainstream, and his proteges include Harry Allen. They've recorded together for Concord Jazz and Challenge, and here they lock horns on a thrilling performance of "Cottontail," which neatly integrates Ben Webster's classic solo and his equally famous scoring of the unison chorus for the Ellington saxophone section which first recorded the tune in 1940.
Today is Hamilton's 59th birthday. Here he is in 2006 back in his own backyard at the Hi-Hat in Providence playing "Jitterbug Waltz." That's Jon Wheatley on guitar, Marshall Wood on bass, and Chuck Riggs on drums. Enjoy!