The Life and Music of Drummer Jeff Hamilton

Brian James Claxton


This dissertation is a biography on the life and career of jazz musician Jeff Hamilton. The story begins with Hamilton’s family, continues with his introduction to music, and explores his musical development in great detail. The story is told through the lens of Hamilton himself, along with accounts from family members, close friends, and professional colleagues through excerpts from interviews and other author-conducted research. The content is organized chronologically and guides the reader through snapshots of Hamilton’s entire life up to the present time. Each story was a special moment graciously shared by each interviewee, and great care was taken in organizing this material into a logical timeline that traced Hamilton’s life and music to the current time. The goal of this dissertation was to help tell the story of one of history’s greatest jazz drummers. In addition, it helped realize the scope of Hamilton’s success through the quality and variety of his accomplishments and through testimony from the greater jazz establishment. Furthermore, it showed why and how he has achieved said success through the study of his early development, work ethic, and life experiences.