Jeff hamilton

Jeff Hamilton, Distinguished Alumnus 2006

Class of 1971

April 22nd was the date of the Academic Excellence Recognition Dinner at RHS.

The Alumni Association presented the 2006 Distinguished Alumni Award to Jeff Hamilton, Class of 1971, of Glendale, California. Jeff has made his mark in the world of jazz music as a drummer, performing in his own Jeff Hamilton Trio & with other famous names such as Rosemary Clooney, Barbara Streisand, Mel Torme, George Shering, Nina Simone, Milt Jackson, Herb Ellis, Barney Kessek, Scott Hamilton, Keely Smith, Mark Murphy and Toshiko Akioshi.

He has been recorded on over 100 albums including Natalie Cole’s Great Performances of “Unforgettable”.

He attended IU and later studied with John Van Ohlen.  His first big break came playing with the New Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in 1974.  He then became a member of the Lionel Hampton Big Band and in 1975 joined the Monty Alexander Trio with John Clayton.

In 1977 he joined Woody Herman & the Thundering Herd.  In 1978 he became drummer for the L.A. 4.

From 1983-87 he performed with Ella Fitzgerald, the Count Basie Orchestra, Rosemary Clooney and Monty Alexander. He has recorded some of his own compositions and has “brought the crowd to its feet with his  amazing hand-drumming in ‘Night in Tunisia’”, according to the LA Times.

From 1988 to 1995, Jeff performed with the Ray Brown trio, leaving to form his own group, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Jeff  was nominated by Max E Bailey, OD, Class of 1972.  Max wrote “Jeff is truly a  ‘world-class’  jazz percussionist, who represents one of the finest products of the music department of RHS.”































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