Raised in the blues playground of Mississippi, Hamilton took his first musical breath in the church. His education on the trumpet continued in the San Francisco Bay area. Then his passion led him on a musical journey to New York City, particularly to the Manhattan School of Music and Mannes College The New School for Music, where he further trained in jazz and classical music traditions, adding piano, arranging, composing, and vocals to his repertoire.
The result is a sound steeped in jazz that showcases an upbeat pop scope, clever blues undertones, and shadows of gospel. His rhythmic yarns are familiar and new, urgent and soothing as they saunter toward a finale. “My music has spiritual overtones that preach to the [secular] masses,” Hamilton explains. “It’s a combination of all my experiences.” He blends his European influences and conservatory background with the everlasting pulse of Congo Square and the urban folk base of his Southern upbringing. He’s collaborated with accomplished masters such as post-bop drummer Joe Chambers, the late piano virtuoso Jaki Byard, bassist Papa Jube and legendary ska drummer Winston Grennan to name a few. He also regularly performs with his eponymous quartet.
A talented lyricist, Hamilton is no stranger to matters of the heart--the breaks, the aches, the embraces and quite simply the love that ebbs and flows from our interactions with family, friends and lovers. And it’s this love that led him to form his own production company. Through AKHorn Media, he works with diverse clients to bring high quality recordings to bear via arranging, audio engineering, programming, music sequencing and composing. “I was born to be a teacher, chosen to be a healer,” he asserts. As a further testimony to that purpose, he has spent over 15 years educating young minds about developing one’s musicianship and knowledge of music history. For his latest endeavor, The Liberation Project, Hamilton was inspired by the trials and tribulations of his own life to express the strength, courage and faith that brought him successfully to the other side. “I believe music was put here for a purpose, as a gift,” he says. This gift contains songs expressing pain, yearning, laughter, forgiveness. What exactly is liberation? Ask this trumpet commander, pianist, songwriter, music educator, composer and producer, and he’ll tell you it’s the freedom found when one discovers self. On this project, Hamilton continues to craft healing stories in musical form. The story of a person coming to recognize grace, of an artist in love with music, of a man grappling with this beautiful thing called life. Aaron K.Hamilton is a musician who weaves syncopation, words, melodies, and deliberate whispers to triumphantly share how he overcame his struggles and liberated himself.