Hamilton, Andy [Andrew Raphael Thomas]
- Val Wilmer
[Andrew Raphael Thomas]
(b Port Maria, Jamaica, March 26, 1918; d Birmingham, England, June 3, 2012). Jamaican saxophonist, bandleader, and educator. He started on cornet, tuba, and the Jamaican bamboo saxophone, and, influenced by church music and American broadcasts, led his own band, Silvershine, before traveling in 1944 to the USA as a migrant worker. While there he also played music at residencies in Buffalo and Syracuse. He then returned to Jamaica for hotel work and served as music director for Errol Flynn on the actor’s yacht. In 1949 he emigrated to England and settled in Birmingham, where he played with Pete Pitterson, Dizzy Reece, and Sammy Walker. With his own West Indian Modernists (later, Blue Notes) he formed a long association with the pianist Sam Brown (Ronald Daley) and became respected throughout the Midlands area as a community musician and educator. Through his Blue Pearls workshop band he taught up and coming youngsters, including his own sons. Among the guests at his long-established residency in Birmingham were Art Farmer, Harry Edison, Slim Gaillard, Scott Hamilton, and Mick Hucknall, the singer with the pop group Simply Red. In ...