Obituary: Milt Hinton - Legend of Jazz Dies, 90

Birmingham Evening Mail (England), December 23, 2000 | Go to article overview
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Obituary: Milt Hinton - Legend of Jazz Dies, 90


MILT Hinton, who has died aged 90, was among the most highly regarded double bass players in jazz, known by fellow musicians as 'The Judge', in tribute to his sonorous tone and command of tempo.

Hinton's immensely long career took in virtually the whole of jazz history. In his youth he played with the New Orleans cornettist Freddie Keppart and in his eighties he was recording with Wynton and Branford Marsalis.

As a result, he was able to demonstrate the changing styles of almost three-quarters of a century, knowledge which he passed on through lectures and master-classes.

Milton John Hinton was born on June 23 1910 at Vicksburg, Mississippi, and grew up in Chicago.

At the age of 13 he was given a violin. By the time he graduated from the famously musical Wendell Phillips High School he had become concertmaster of the school orchestra.

He hoped to make a living as a violinist, but was thwarted by the arrival of talking pictures and the disbanding of cinema orchestras, the first step on the professional ladder. After a brief tussle with the trombone, he settled on the double bass.

In the early 1930s a transformation was taking place in the jazz rhythm section, with the stiff sound of brass and banjo giving way to the fluidity of string bass and guitar.

Ideally placed

Hinton was ideally placed to take advantage of this change. He found working the bands of Tiny Parham, Jabbo Smith and the violinist Eddie South, billed as the 'Dark Angel of the Violin'.

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