Chico’s engagements with Lionel Hampton, Slim & Slam, T-Bone Walker, Lester Young, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Barnett, Billy Eckstine, Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis Jr., Billie Holiday, Gerry Mulligan and six years with Lena Horne established this young West Coast prodigy as a jazz drummer on the rise, before striking out on his own as a bandleader in 1955.
In 1997, Chico received the New School University Jazz & Contemporary Music Programs Beacons in Jazz Award in recognition for his "significant contribution to the evolution of Jazz". In 2002, Chico was awarded the WLIU-FM Radio Lifetime Achievement Award. At the IAJE in NYC January 2004, Hamilton was awarded a NEA Jazz Master Fellowship, presented to him by Roy Haynes. In December 2006, Congress confirmed the President’s nomination of Chico to the Presidents Council on the Arts. And in 2007, Chico received a Living Legacy Jazz Award as part of The Kennedy Centers Jazz in Our Time Festival, as well as receiving a Doctor of Fine Arts from The New School.
Dynamic as ever at the age of 86, Chico Hamilton has a resume that includes scores for film, original compositions, commercial jingles, 50 + albums as a leader, and countless international tours. Chico is presently teaching at The New School University Jazz Program, touring extensively in North America with his group "Euphoria" and working on an autobiography.
Chico Hamilton is now playing the Vater Chico Hamilton model, Retractable Wire Brush and T-4 Mallets.