Chico Hamilton on racism

Now, A Jazz Moment...

While life as a touring musician today isn't not easy...but the hardships pale in comparison to the past. NEA Jazz Master Chico Hamilton reflects on the pervasive racism that he, like other musicians of his generation, routinely encountered on the road.

Chico Hamilton: Well, certain places, people with my complexion seem kind of out of place. You know I've always had an interracial group. I go for the instruments and the players. And if they turn out to be chartreuse, they're chartreuse. If they turn out to be gray, they're gray. You know?

MUSIC: "Lonesome Child" CD: Man From Two Worlds, Impulse GRD-127 (cut 11)

So, we played a lot of places where I couldn't stay with my group. You know? But see, very early in life I found out who I was and what I was all about so I had no problems with it. So if you were bothered by the way I looked that was your problem, not mine.

MUSIC: same - up and fades

This Jazz Moment with drummer Chico Hamilton was created by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Chico Hamilton on racism