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Bill's Place, Milt Hinton celebration

Ron Scott | 2/28/2013, 4:40 p.m.
Saxophonist/composer Bill Saxton, owner of the four-story brownstone that houses his hip little jazz spot...
Bill's Place, Milt Hinton celebration

"Celebrating Milt Hinton," bassist, educator, photographer and NEA Jazz Master (1993), will begin at 3 p.m. with the documentary "Keeping Time: The Life, Music and Photographs of Milt Hinton," followed by a panel discussion with writer Bill Crow, historian/writer Dan Morgenstern, musicians Rufus Reid and Joe Wilder, moderated by David G. Berger.

Photographs by Hinton from the Milton J. Hinton Photograph Collection will be on display in the Living Room Gallery now through March 3.

Scheduled for 5 p.m. is Jazz Vespers with Ben Williams. "The Keeping Time Concert" at 7:30 p.m. will feature the music of Hinton and the many ensembles with which he performed, hosted by vocalist Catherine Russell. This segment of the evening will include the Rufus Reid organized ensemble the Judge Meets the Section, a bass quintet of Milt Hinton Scholarship winners comprising Peter Dominguez, Fred Hunter, Mimi Jones (aka Miriam Sullivan), Douglas Weiss and Sue Williams, and featuring bass soloist Elias Bailey.

Other ensembles will include Jay Leonhart; the Purchase Jazz Orchestra conducted by Todd Coolman with Frank Wess, Rufus Reid, and Catherine Russell; Gerald Clayton; Rodney Green; Reid; and special guest Ron Carter. The grand finale will be a large brass choir (at least 20 brassists) led by Reid. During his long stint with the Cab Calloway Big Band (1936-1951), he developed a technique known as "slapping," using his open hand to hit the bass for various sounds. That band featured Chu Berry, Dizzy Gillespie, Cozy Cole and Ben Webster, among others.

The straight-ahead jazz musician was also a popular studio musician who played on many R&B hits, including the Drifters' "Under the Boardwalk," and Neil Sedaka pop tunes written by songwriters who worked feverishly in the Brill Building (Tin Pan Alley).

In watching the documentary "A Great Day in Harlem," one will notice Hinton was the one taking all the pictures. The film is a companion of the photo shoot of 57 jazz musicians taken in Harlem at 17 East 126th St. on Aug. 12, 1958, and appeared in the November issue of Esquire magazine.

At the end of the day, it was Hinton who took all the great shots that would later become a part of the documentary. He never started out as a photographer; he was just interested in taking photos of his friends and memorable occasions. Hinton died on Dec. 19, 2000 at age 90.

The suggested ticket donation for "Celebrating Milt Hinton" is $25. Students $15 with ID.