Fred Hamilton

Regents Professor Emeritus of Jazz Guitar

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Fred Hamilton is a Professor in the Jazz Studies Division of the College of Music at the University of North Texas. He teaches applied Jazz Guitar lessons, Rhythm Section Master Class, Jazz Improvisation, and is the director of the Guitar Ensemble Labs, which include five guitarists, bass and drums.

Fred Hamilton is a guitarist and bassist, and a Professor of Music in the Jazz Studies Division of the University of North Texas. He teaches guitar, jazz improvisation, rhythm section masterclass and directs the guitar ensembles. He is also on the faculty of the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops and the UNT Combo Camp. Since coming to Texas, he has performed with such artists as Bill Frisell, Dave Liebman, Cedar Walton, George Garzone, Mike Stern, Kenny Wheeler, The Brecker Brothers, Paul Wertico, James Moody, Joe Lovano, Bob Brookmeyer and John Abercrombie.

His most recent CD is "Afternoon of the Soul," released in October, 2009 on his own Wolf Tales label. He recorded "A Conversation" on the Blue Bamboo Music label with Woody Witt and Ed Soph. Prior to that, "Live at Cezanne" as a bassist with saxophonist Woody Witt and trumpeter Tim Hagans on the Apria label ( released in fall 2007. In 2005, the DVD The Jam featuring the Earl Harvin Trio was released by Hamilton on the Mel Bay label ( and is also available as a book/DVD titled Intuitive Improvisation. He is featured on guitar on the Alfred Publications DVD Rhythm Section Workshop for Jazz Directors, released in 2005.

In 1989, shortly before joining the UNT faculty, while living in Denver, he was featured on two interesting albums. The first for the Rabbit Ears subsidiary of Windham Hill, with pianist Art Lande, Paul McCandless who was one of the founding members of the band Oregon and narration by actress Holly Hunter. Titled The Three Pigs and the Billy Goat's Gruff, it was part of a children's series featuring original music and celebrity readings. The second was The Odd Couple with tenor saxophonist Spike Robinson and pianist Rob Mullins for the Capri label.

He has written articles for Guitar Player magazine and has big band, combo and guitar ensemble music published with the University of Northern Colorado Jazz Press. He has two published works with Mel Bay Publications, Inc. Melodic Studies and Compositions for Guitar: A Reading Workout for Serious Musicians was released in November, 1993, and his solo "Thanks, Byrl Elvin" from the album Looking Back on Tomorrow is included in Mel Bay's Anthology of Jazz Guitar Solos Volume Three. A series of compositions written for the UNT L-5 Electric Guitar Ensemble is available from Mel Bay. These have been recorded and released on The Quilt Master, a CD for the UNT jazz label, available on the (recordings page).

Denton, Texas and UNT have been home since 1989, and prior to that, he held positions on the faculty at Concordia College in Montreal (1984-85), St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia (1982-84), and Bowling Green State University in Ohio (1979-82). His M.M. in composition is from the University of Northern Colorado where he was a graduate teaching fellow from 1978 to 1979. Prior to that he played guitar and arranged for the Commanders Jazz Ensemble in the U.S. Air Force with the NORAD Command Band (1972-76).

During his formative years in Denver, Colorado, he studied for six years with Jim Atkins, original rhythm guitarist with the Les Paul Trio. The other influential guitarist in the Denver area during his youth was the legendary Johnny Smith.

He has recorded several jazz albums on guitar and bass (see below). Check out Fred's personal web site. His book, Melodic Studies and Compositions for Guitar: A Reading Workout for Serious Musicians, is available through Mel Bay Publications at Fred is advisor for The North Texas Guitar and Bass Association. Fred Hamilton endorses Schaefer Guitars and D'Addario Strings. Check out the short teaching videos available to view at the D'Addario website. Click on media library at the home page and type in Fred Hamilton.

Other recordings by Fred Hamilton

  • The Marc Seales Band Live: A Time, a Place, a Journey on the Origin label
  • Unincorporated, The Earl Harvin Trio on the Two Ohm Hop label
  • Strange Beauty, The Earl Harvin Trio on the Leaning House label
  • Live at the Gypsy Tea Room, The Earl Harvin Trio on the Leaning House label
  • Between Us Cats, with Dave Zoller on the DPZ label
  • The Earl Harvin Trio/Quartet on the Leaning House label
  • Second Wind on Pic Records
  • Looking Back on Tomorrow available on the Heart label, featuring David Friesen and Ed Soph
  • Strange Beauty by Tony Campise on the Heart label
  • The Three Pigs /Billy Goat's Gruff on the Windham Hill/Rabbit Ears label, music by Art Lande, narration by Holly Hunter
  • The Odd Couple on the Capri label, with Spike Robinson and Rob Mullins