“Great Scott” – documentary about jazz saxophonist Scott Hamilton

Author: Jerry Steyger

“Great Scott” is a documentary interview about the career of jazz saxophonist Scott Hamilton. In his characteristic Jack Nicholson type of voice, Hamilton talks about his love of music and his choice for the tenor sax.

Hamilton reminisces about the start of his career in New York, how he was discovered and how this eventually led to world-wide fame. He offers us an inside view into his jazz world, talking openly and unpretentiously about his profession, his ambitions, jazz in general, innovation, the changing audience and, of course, his horn.

In each country where he performs, Hamilton works through a local manager, like Brian Peerless in Engeland and Kristian Leth in Scandinavia. Jerry Steyger has been Hamilton’s man in the Netherlands for 25 years; they have known each other for 38 years. During a tour in 2013, Steyger had organised an interview session, having arranged for a location as well as professional equipment. Unfortunately, the equipment broke down during the interview, so everything had to be recorded with a small camera. With the assistance of friends and fans the present video document was put together. Steyger asked his buddy jazz trumpeter Michael Varekamp to conduct the interview. After all, the best person to interview a jazz musician is a jazz musician. And the best spot is of course a jazz club, where else!

The interview starts early in the morning of 7 March 2013. The previous night, Hamilton and Steyger had returned late from a concert in Belgium. Hamilton had to get up early for the interview and he was scheduled to perform later that day at the Bimhuis in Amsterdam. Nevertheless, he took on the interview and the present video is the result of it.

Jerry Steyger: Scott is a modest person who tends to play down his musical capabilities. But I have heard him play many times and he never fails to surprise me. To me, his music is art in its truest sense. When he performs in the Netherlands, I am usually present at his concerts. Sometimes, people ask me if I never get tired of listening to him. My answer is always the same: “Imagine you’re a contemporary of Rembrandt or Leonardo da Vinci and you’re given the opportunity to see them paint, what would you do?”

Credits Great Scott

“Willow Weep For Me”
Jazz At The Philharmonic, 1957
“Little Jazz” Roy Eldridge-trumpet
Oscar Peterson-piano
Herb Ellis-guitar
Ray Brown-bass
Joe Jones-drums

Television series Peter Appleyard Presents, 1997
Peter Appleyard introduces Scott Hamilton at 22 years of age
Scott Hamilton-tenor sax
Scott is backed up by clarinettist Allistair Lauries’ Jazz Connection
Recorded in Toronto, Canada

The American All Stars, 1995
Warren Vaché-cornet
Scott Hamilton-tenor sax
Jimmy Cleveland-trombone
John Bunch-piano
Bucky Pizzarelli-guitar
Jeff Fuller-bass
Jake Hanna-drums
Recorded at: Jazz Special, Germany

“Airmail Special”
Benny Goodman At the North Sea Jazz Festival, 1982
Benny Goodman-clarinet
John Bunch-piano
Chris Flory-guitar
Warren Vaché-cornet
Scott Hamilton-tenor sax
Phil Flanigan-bass
Mel Lewis-drums
Recorded: July 1982 at the North Sea Jazz Festival, The Hague, the Netherlands

“Will You Still Be Mine”
Rosemary Clooney at the North Sea Jazz Festival, 1981
Scott Hamilton-tenor sax
Al Cohn-tenor sax
Warren Vaché-cornet, flugelhorn
Jake Hanna-drums
Cal Collins-guitar
Dave McKenna-piano
Bob Maize-bass
Recorded: July 1981, North Sea Jazz Festival, The Hague, the Netherlands

“But Not For Me”
The Ruby Braff/George Barnes Quartet live in Berlin in 1974

“Star Eyes”
Scott Hamilton & Léah Kline & Laurens’B at The 12th Floor, 2015
Scott Hamilton-tenor sax
Léah Kline-vocals
Dirk vd Linden-guitar
Alain van Zeveren-Hammond organ
Laurant Mercier-drums
Recording: Michel Devos
Recorded: 21 September 2015, The 12th Floor, Antwerp, Belgium,

“Let´s Dance”
Doctor Bernard and the Swing Orchestra, Zoetermeer Jazz Festival, 2011
Scott Hamilton-tenor sax
Bernard Berkhout-clarinet
Loet van der Lee, Michael Varekamp, Thomas Welvaadt-trumpets
Markus Glas, Jack Coenen-trombones
Bert Brandsma, Piet Keizer, Hans Goemans, Erik van der Weijden-reeds
Mark van der Feen-piano
Hans Voogt-guitar
Frans Bouwmeester-bas
Dolf Helge-drums
Mirjam van Dam-vocals
Recorded: September 2011, Zoetermeer Jazz Festival, the Netherlands

”No Moon at All”
Scott Hamilton-tenor sax
Andrea Pozza-piano

“Blue Kaper”
Scott Hamilton in concert at Bimhuis, Amsterdam, 2013
Scott Hamilton-tenor sax
Rein de Graaff-piano
Marius Beets-bass
Eric Ineke-drums
Recorded: 7 March 2013, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

The Great Scott interview was recorded @ Jazz and Blues Sociëteit Engels, The Hague, The Netherlands, on 7 March 2013
Michael Varekamp-interview
Jerry Steyger-camera
Marc Muijzer-sound
Gert Leuring-introduction footage

Special advisors:
Bert de Kort
Tom Stuip

Many thanks to Kees Broekhof

Produced by Jerry Steyger


Video source youtube

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