Jazz Insights: Scott Hamilton

One of the world’s greatest jazz saxophonists hails from little ol’ Providence, Rhode Island. Scott Hamilton was born here, grew up and made his name locally. He was to become the premier swing and mainstream jazz tenor saxophone player in the United States, and his style would remind us of the late Ben Webster or Coleman Hawkins.  Even a bit of the great Zoot Sims would be part of his personal blend.
It was trumpet player Roy Eldridge who recommended Scott’s move to New York City. There in the Big Apple he performed with many of the finest talented musicians of on (and off) Broadway. Soon, he was hired by Benny Goodman and toured with his band soloing.
When he broke away from Benny, he teamed up with Concord Records in California, recording with many of the finest West Coast jazz musicians. The late songstress Rosemary Clooney hired Scott and he toured with her during the 1970s. Scott performed in most of Europe. He also played in Japan with several groups.
During his prime, he worked with a long list of big names, including reedman Bob Wilber; trumpet greats Warren Vache, Ruby Braff and Roy Eldridge; and pianists George Wein and Mike Renzi. Now, in his 60s, he makes his home in New York, but continues to travel around the world.
His vibrant personal sounds are always identifiable. The many albums that he has recorded are replayed regularly in the world of jazz. Rhode Island is proud to be part of his spectacular career. I will keep my eyes open if he should come back our way to perform. For jazz fans, it could be a lucky happening.

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