Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Chico Hamilton Quintet (1956)

From the Life archives. Photo by Gordon Parks. Hollywood, California.


The Weejun said...

Great image Nick. It's good to see the much maligned Chico Hamilton Quintet are finally starting to be recognised for the innovators they were. For years obscured by the (often tedious) Hard Bop hardliners.

I was listening to the LP Tanganyika a couple of days ago which is most of the CHQ lead by Buddy Collette and is almost like a 'lost' CHQ album.

Sunday is house cleaning day in Weejunland and with the sun shining I think I'll stick on some Chico Hamilton this morning loud through the house.

The statue behind the group in your image is one of the artworks that Dick Bock had commissioned for the covers of Pacific Jazz LPs. I used to like the little sidebar on the back cover where the artist had a little biography.

The Weejun said...

So, I dug out my vinyl copy of The Chico Hamilton Quintet in Hi-Fi on Pacific Jazz and on the back cover there's a little section about the artist.
'Our cover photo (by William Claxton) fo the Los Angeles sculptor, Vito, illustrates the climax of an exciting afternoon at the sculptor's studio where the Hamilton Quintet performed, entertained and inspired and energetic group of students of Vito's Clay Workshop.
Since its founding in 1947, the Clay Workshop students can boast of having won four first awards in sculpture in various exhibitions in Los Angeles.
Although Vito's work can be decribed as for the most part semi-abstract, he is a well-known portraitist and commercial sculptor in the literal-classical concept of interpretation. Vito has just returned from a year's study in Europe to begin work on his ambition to establish a centre of endeavour in the arts - for both adults and children - embracing sculpture, painting, dance and the theatre arts in Los Angeles.'

Nick Rossi said...

Thanks for the comments Weejun. Chico is THE man. Most of his 50s & 60s combos are beyond well worth listening to, verging on essential. I agree that it is wonderful to see him finally getting some due respect. Now I love hard bop and soul-jazz as much as (if not much more so) than the next guy, but there are just so many "West Coast" or "Cool School" recordings that have been seemingly written out of the history books. It's a shame, as musicians such as Hamilton and Collette were/are so talented and innovative in their own right. Rant over.

'Love the art comments as well. That LP cover has long been a favorite of mine. I dig the old school art + jazz = marketing angle (not to mention photogs like Clax) vibe of a lot of those LP sleeves. Now THAT'S what I call synchronicity.

Anonymous said...

Chico Hamilton also teaches at Parsons School of Desing in NYC.