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Matt Wilson Remembers Chico Hamilton

9.21.21 – 11.25.13

Chico Hamilton
Chico Hamilton

One of the greatest solo drum performances I have witnessed was by Chico Hamilton. It took place at guitarist Attila Zoller’s memorial service, held in the spring of 1998 at St. Peter’s Church in New York City. I can still recall the sound, spirit and strength of his statement.

I remember Mr. Hamilton, a pair of soft felt mallets in hand, approaching the front of the sanctuary. He said a few words to express his love for Attila and then sat down at the drum set. Mr. Hamilton welcomed a few moments of silence, and with a bold single stroke on the floor tom the sonic journey began. From that the point forward, a bountiful flow of ideas emerged: Melodious themes weaved and swirled throughout the piece with shapes that painted a vivid aural landscape. His fluid movements were dance-like and displayed the intimate physical relationship he had with the drum set. The drum anthem was dramatic, courageous and vulnerable.

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Originally Published