It’s one thing to lose your drum chair to some local guy who has better hands, but I’m more than willing to vacate if I’m being replaced by the great Jeff Hamilton!

I’ve been getting my hands and sense of musicality in shape the last few weeks, preparing for the arrival of Jeff Hamilton and his trio. They are the Guest Artists for this year’s Jazz Unlimited Festival here in the Tri-Cities, and I couldn’t be more excited (and terrified!). The amount of respect I have for Mr. Hamilton is outrageous; for me, he is the definition of tasteful drumming – someone who is a real artist and a master of his craft. I’ve studied his playing for almost a decade now, and while I can’t play like him (nobody can, really), I’d like to think I learned something since the last time I was in this same position…

..yes, this is the second time he’s come to town and kicked me out of my drum chair. 🙂

In 2002, I was playing for CBC and he and his trio were the Guest Artists for that year’s festival, as well. He was really great to me; I got to spend quite a bit of time with him and his trio (Tamir Hendelman on piano and Christoph Luty on bass), and I learned so much about jazz in one weekend that it was incredible!

On my trip to NAMM in January, I stopped by the Bosphorus booth and chatted with him for a bit. We talked about this upcoming festival, the charts to be played, gear stuff, and more. As always, he was super nice and made a few minutes to chat with me, which I appreciated.

Jeff and his trio will be performing 3 times this weekend:

First, they’ll be playing the Feature Concert on Friday night, April 9th, at Chief Jo MS in Richland at 7:30 PM. The concert starts with the CBC Jazz Ensemble (which I play for), and then the Jeff Hamilton Trio comes out and does a few tunes by themselves. After that, the Columbia Basin Jazz Orchestra (the other big band I play in) takes the stage, with the JH3 as their rhythm section! Tickets are $10 for students/seniors, and $15 for adults (and let me tell you: it’ll be worth every penny).

Second, they will be doing a clinic in the CBC Theater at Noon on Saturday, which is free to the public. The trio will play, discuss jazz, take questions, and more – don’t miss this!

Lastly, they will perform with the CBC Jazz Band during the Results Concert in the Gjerde Center at CBC at 5:15 PM on Saturday.

So, yes: I get kicked out of my drum chair three times this weekend, but when your replacement is Jeff Hamilton, you can’t complain one bit. It’s one of the few times in my life when getting kicked out of my drum chair is actually an honor. 😀