The great drummer and bandleader Chico Hamilton passed away last week at the age of 92. As he so often does, Ted Panken pulled a number of interviews from his archive in order to post a wonderful tribute on his blog. The two cover virtually every topic you can think of in these pieces, including this about tap-dancers!:
TP: Did you ever play with any tap dancers?
CH: Did I ever play with any tap dancers! Quite a few, as a matter of fact. There was a tremendous dance team by the name of the Berry Brothers, there was a tremendous team named the Nicholas Brothers. I kept time for them. I think I played with Baby Lawrence at one time or another. When you were in the big bands, that’s what you did. You played for all those dancers. Most bands when they were on the road, they were with a show. There was a complete show. They would have dancers and singers and things like that. So you had to learn to play for dancers, which is an art within itself. But laying down taps on one of my records… The last album I did, Dancing To A Different Drummer, I simulate a tap dancer dancing. I do a brush solo, which is the same kind of thing, same kind of groove.
Click here to read Two WKCR Interviews and a DownBeat Blindfold Test with Chico Hamilton