Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Jeff Hamilton: Recapturing the Red Sparkle

In video interviews from the Jazz Cruise 2012, the drummer talks about his early musical development, the latest project from his trio and his experiences on the cruise

Jeff Hamilton
Drummer Jeff Hamilton, during video interview on the Jazz Cruise 2012

Born in Richmond, Indiana, drummer Jeff Hamilton cut his teeth on the touring big bands, performing at a young age with the bands of Tommy Dorsey, Lionel Hampton, Woody Herman and Count Basie. He had a long working relationship with bassist Ray Brown, with whom he played in various configurations. He is the co-leader along with John Clayton of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, a staple on the Los Angeles jazz scene. And he leads his own trio with pianist Tamir Hendelman and bassist Christoph Luty. He has recorded over 200 albums, including many as a leader or co-leader, including his current album, Red Sparkle.

During the 2012 Jazz Cruise, JazzTimes set up a make-shift video production studio in “The Boardroom,” a small room on the second deck of the M/S Westerdam. Throughout the week, a succession of artists-including Kurt Elling, Freddy Cole, Ann Hampton-Callaway, Jay Leonhart, Ken Peplowski, Wycliffe Gordon, Bill Charlap & Renee Rosnes and many others-came in to talk about the cruise, jazz education and their own projects. We will be posting these interviews at over the next few months. You can also see more of these video interviews at the JazzTimes YouTube channel.

In this In Person set of interview segments, Hamilton recalls his early musical development, including his first instrument, early education, first jazz album he bought, first jazz and his first paid gig. Hamilton also spoke about recording Red Sparkle, his latest album with his working trio of Hendelman and Luty. Finally, he shares his impressions of the Jazz Cruise, including some of the more unusual things that have happened on the cruise.

Jeff Hamilton on his early musical development:

Jeff Hamilton on Red Sparkle, his new album with his trio:

Jeff Hamilton on his impressions of the Jazz Cruise:

Interviews done by Irene Lee. Footage shot on Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

Originally Published