Desert Island Jazz
Charles Hamilton (2011)

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Although born in San Francisco, trumpeter/trombonist Charles Hamilton grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. But he came back to the Bay Area, getting his BA at Cal State San Francisco.

Charles cannot but be best known for his 28-year tenure as Director of the world-renowned Berkeley High School Jazz Program, which has nurtured and graduated innumerable alumni, notable among them Joshua Redman, Benny Green, Craig Handy, David Murray, Ambrose Akinmusire, Peter Apfelbaum, Miles Perkins, Josh Jones, Dave Ellis, Will Bernard, Erik Jakabsen, …

But the flip side of the jazz educator is the professional jazz musician. Having started playing in high school and continued through college, Charles was a member of the bands of Joe Henderson, Bill Bell, and David Hardiman, and played with Warren Gale, Louie Bellson and the Big Belly Blues Band. He was invited twice by the US State Department to be a cultural ambassador, leading international goodwill tours with the San Francisco Bay Jazz Band (which he founded and directed) to Ho Chi Minh City and Saigon, and to Beijing, Shanghai and other cities in China.

Charles is only the second educator to be awarded the National Foundation for the Arts "Distinguished Teachers in the Arts" award.

Now "retired", Charles is busier than ever, now balancing family with his myriad musical activities.
Pick Artist Album Song Label
# 1 Miles Davis Bitches Brew Sanctuary Columbia
# 2 Freddie Hubbard First Light First Light CTI
# 3 Duke Ellington and His Orchestra At Newport Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue Columbia
# 4 The Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Big Band March of the Tadpoles March of the Tadpoles BMG
# 5 David Hardiman It'll Be All Right Jomago Evidence
# 6 Billie Holiday Lady in Satin But Beautiful Columbia
# 7 John Coltrane Live at Birdland Alabama Impulse
Book Stuart Nicholson, "Reminiscing in Tempo: A Portrait of Duke Ellington"
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