Soon Andy had his band and started to perform regularly across the island. He joined the war effort in the USA and was offered regular gigs on the Jazz trail towards New York. However, he had to return to Jamaica where he reformed his band and took up residency at The Titchfield Hotel in Port Antonio. The most exclusive hotel in the area, regular visitors included Noel Coward and his entourage.
In the late 1940's Hollywood legend Errol Flynn arrived in town and after hearing Andy play, sent a taxi and a summons to meet Robin Hood! The next 2 years were spent working with Flynn and playing music on the famous yacht Zaka. It was in 1948 that Andy composed for Flynn, a Jazz Calypso tune called Silvershine. In 1949 Andy, like many others, left Jamaica and set sail for England, intending to make some money and go on to the USA where his heroes, Ellington, Basie, Webster and Lester Young were enjoying the Golden Age of Jazz. He got no further than Birmingham and being denied the opportunity to play in local clubs, formed his own band, The Blue Notes. Life in the 1950's was not easy in Birmingham and Andy had more than his share of problems with work, accommodation and racism. He lost his front teeth when assaulted by Oswald Mosley's fascists at a concert he had organised. Undaunted he has set up venues and concerts across the city for over 50 years, notably to provide after show entertainment for the great American bands of Basie and Ellington and West Indian Cricket teams in the 1950's. Married with a large young family to provide for and a band to run, Andy rarely ventured outside Birmingham and became a local celebrity who regularly played at civic functions, organised nights and opened venues where people from all ages and backgrounds were made welcome. In 1985 Andy Hamilton was rushed to hospital in a diabetic coma and was not expected to live.
While in the coma, amazingly, the melody to Silvershine, a song he had not played or thought about in nearly 40 years, came to him and brought him out of the coma. A new life was about to begin. In 1988, his 70th Birthday was celebrated at his regular Jazz venue, The Bear, where Val Wilmer, the UK's leading Jazz writer paid a visit. Her half page review, in The Independent, was spotted by the promoters of the Soho Jazz Festival who invited him over to play. At his performance Nick Gold from World Circuit Records was so impressed he offered Andy a recording contract, at the age of 72. His debut album "Silvershine" was released to universal acclaim, becoming · The biggest selling UK Jazz Album of the Year · One of the 50 Sony Recordings of the Year The Times Jazz Album of the Year · A film documentary made by the Foreign Office, directed by an Oscar winning producer · BBC, TV and radio broadcasts of live concerts · Whilst Andy was invited to major festivals and venues in Paris, Milan, Madrid, St Lucia, Jamaica It was followed in 1994 by another great album, “Jamaica by Night”. In 1996 he was awarded an Honorary Master of Arts degree by Birmingham University and in 1999 he was presented with a Millennium Fellowship for his work in Community Education. He is a key figure in the development of the Jazz programme at The Drum. He plays regularly at prestigious international venues and festivals, BAFTA awards, The Globe Theatre, WOMAD festivals across Europe. His enthusiasm for teaching has led to the establishment of The Ladywood Community School of Music supported by the Millennium Commission, which is offering people of all ages the chance to learn from and play with one of the truly great men of Jazz. John Fordham - The Guardian -“Sumptuous, sensuous, gifted and mercurial, Hamilton's sound is irresistible" Clive Davis - The Times -"What a relief to hear Andy Hamilton, his distinctive mellow tone and innate sense of melody, set him apart." David Bodham - Ronnie Scott's -"A real discovery, his version of Old Folks with David Murray is the best I know - he is a real find" Kings Jazz Review - "Hamilton has produced a Masterpiece - he will surely be offered a place among the unique saxophonists of the world" David Murray - “ My hero - it's his tone - it knocks me out" Art Farmer - “So soulful - so mellow" 2. Andrew Neil Hamilton Sometimes Andrew Stanley Hamilton (born 28 May 1954) is a British comedian, game show panellist, director, and comedy scriptwriter for television and radio.
He has made many appearances on Radio and television shows in the UK. Examples of TV shows that he has made appearances on are Have I Got News For You and QI. Radio shows include Sorry I Haven't A Clue, The News Quiz, and his very own radio comedy drama entitled 'Old Harry's Game' which is set in Hell and follows the movements and dealings of Satan, who is played by Andy Hamilton himself. He can still be seen making appearances on these various TV and radio programs today. Read more on Last.fm.
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