Scott Hamilton, born on September 12, 1954, in Providence, Rhode Island, is an American jazz tenor saxophonist known for his swinging style and his revival of classic jazz sounds. With a career spanning over four decades, Hamilton has established himself as a leading figure in mainstream jazz, earning praise for his warm, lyrical tone and effortless improvisational skills.
Hamilton’s interest in jazz began in his early years, listening to his father’s record collection, which included the likes of Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, and Lester Young. By the age of 16, he was already playing professionally with local bands in Rhode Island. In 1976, Hamilton moved to New York City, where he quickly gained recognition in the jazz scene.
His big break came when he joined Benny Goodman’s band in 1977, a move that propelled him into the spotlight. Hamilton’s tenure with Goodman helped him develop his unique sound, characterized by its melodic sophistication and adherence to the swing tradition. After leaving Goodman’s band, Hamilton continued to work as a sideman with other jazz greats, including Rosemary Clooney, Tony Bennett, and Woody Herman.
In 1978, Hamilton released his self-titled debut album, which showcased his deep understanding of the jazz tradition and his remarkable ability to create a modern sound that paid homage to the past. Over the years, he has released numerous albums, both as a leader and a sideman, collaborating with a wide range of artists.
One of Hamilton’s more recent projects, “Classics,” released in 2022, features a collaboration with the Jan Lundgren Trio. This album explores a unique fusion of jazz and classical music, with Hamilton and his collaborators reinterpreting works by Dvorák, Ravel, and other composers, infusing them with a swinging jazz sensibility.
Throughout his career, Scott Hamilton has been a champion of the classic jazz sound, playing with an elegance and grace that harkens back to the golden age of swing. His dedication to preserving the jazz tradition, combined with his willingness to explore new musical frontiers, has made him a respected and influential figure in the world of jazz.
Page last updated 3/19/2023.