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date: 21 September 2019

Hinton, Milt(on John) [The Judge]locked

  • Luca Cerchiari


[The Judge]

(b Vicksburg, MS, June 23, 1910; d New York, NY, Dec 19, 2000). American double bass player, music educator, and photographer. Raised in a musical family, he moved with them to Chicago in 1919. He studied classical music, first at Crane Junior College and later at Northeastern University of Music, and learned various instruments, including violin and tuba, before switching to the bass. He started his professional career in jazz at the end of the 1920s and played with such musicians as Freddie Keppard, Jabbo Smith, Erskine Tate, and Art Tatum. After moving to New York in the mid-1930s, he worked with the Cab Calloway orchestra from 1936 to 1951. He also played with groups led by Fate Marable, Chu Berry, Lionel Hampton, Billie Holiday, and Pete Brown, among others, and recorded as a sideman and as a leader.

Hinton developed an influential slapping technique on the bass and was also proficient in bowing and jazz pizzicato. Playing with Dizzy Gillespie in the bebop years, he developed a distinctively modern harmonic approach. All of these qualities made him one of the most versatile and soughafter jazz musicians of the post-war period, when he recorded nearly 1200 tracks. During the 1950s and 1960s he worked with such luminaries as Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Coleman Hawkins, George Russell, Teddy Wilson, Ben Webster, Paul Gonsalves, and Sonny Stitt. In the 1970s he visited Europe several times, including a tour with Bing Crosby, and taught at institutions including CUNY, Hunter College, and Baruch College. Hinton’s passion for photography has also become part of his legacy; some of his photos of the jazz world are featured in his autobiography, ...

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Jazz Journal International