Hamilton, Jimmy (1917-1994)

Born in Dillon, SC, Hamilton was a multi-instrumentalist who played the clarinet, trombone and later piano, trumpet and saxophones; his first professional gigs were in Teddy Wilson’s band (1939-41), Benny Carter’s Sextet (1941-42), with Lucky Millinder, Jimmy Mundy, Eddie Heywood, and then with Duke Ellington for 25 years (1943-1968) having replaced Chauncey Haughton; with Duke, he was featured on clarinet on “Air Conditioned Jungle,” “Ad Lib on Nippon,” and many, many others; his discography includes Can’t Help Swinging (1961), Swing Low Sweet Clarinet (1960), Rediscovered Live at the Buccaneer (1985), Jimmy Hamilton and the New York Jazz Quintet (1991), among others; he also recorded with Billie Holiday; a very skilled musician with an impeccable technique; Hamilton moved to the Virgin Islands after his long stint with Duke where he taught music in the public schools; he died in 1994 in St. Croix.

Image Gallery

Selected Albums


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