Former educator, politician and professional musician, Lonnie Hamilton III is an alto saxophonist and clarinetist in Charleston. He toured with the Jenkins Orphanage Bands during the mid-1940s, and played with his own band, Lonnie Hamilton and the Diplomats, the signature jazz band in Charleston for decades. Hamilton’s Diplomats was the house band for a very popular jazz nightclub Hamilton owned on Charleston’s North Market Street (it later moved to the 2nd floor of Henry’s Restaurant) in the 1970s through the early 1990s. Hamilton performed in 2010 with the Charleston Jazz Initiative Legends Band and is also featured on its first CD recording. He is the former Chairman of Charleston County Council of which the county office building — Lonnie Hamilton, III Public Services Building is named. Hamilton is the embodiment of Charleston’s rich jazz legacy.
Photo Courtesy of Jack Alterman