John H. Hammond
Jazz producer, talent scout, and Civil Rights activist
John H. Hammond
John Henry Hammond II was an American record producer, Civil Rights activist, non-musician and music critic from the 1930s to the early 1980s. In his service as a talent scout, Hammond became one of the most influential figures in 20th century popular music.
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John H. Hammond's personal information overview.
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CALENDAR | WESTCHESTER; Events in Westchester
NYTimes - over 5 years
A guide to cultural and recreational events in the Hudson Valley. Items for the calendar should be sent at least three weeks in advance to westweek@nytimes.com . Comedy ELMSFORD Westchester Broadway Theater “Battle of the Sexes,” stand-up featuring six comedians. Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. $75 for dinner and show. Westchester Broadway Theater,
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Exclusive Interview with Assistant GM Jeff Weltman: "We view the analytics as ... - Brew Hoop
Google News - over 5 years
After all, Weltman has not only been GM John Hammond's right-hand man since following John from Detroit to Milwaukee in 2008, he is an articulate basketball thinker who wrote a series of articles as part of Scouts Inc. for ESPN.com after leaving Denver
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The “All Business” Report: Dime's Rookie Diary With Tobias Harris - Dime Magazine
Google News - over 5 years
The night of the draft I had to fly straight to Milwaukee to do a press conference with Coach Skiles, John Hammond and Jon Leuer. From there I got a chance to go back home and hang with the family and celebrate all the hard work and success
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Varsity Scoreboard, Aug. 28,2011 - Rapid City Journal
Google News - over 5 years
Flag prizes — Dan Gallegos, James Dyk, Tom Donovan, Bob Melvin, John Hammond, Josh Schaefer, Ed Svoboda, Tony Price. Bearback Riding — 1. Joe Gunderson, Agar, 84; 2. Casey Collett, Pueblo, Colo., 83; 3. (Tie) Casey Robert Breuer, Mandan, ND, 8;
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Wine & Jazz Festival lineup impresses - The Columbian
Google News - over 5 years
In the blues category, the festival will feature Coco Montoya and John Hammond. Montoya is a preeminent blues guitarist who was a member of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. Hammond won a Grammy in 1985 and was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame
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A Mike Flanagan Moment - Patch.com
Google News - over 5 years
I met Mike Flanagan a couple of times – strictly in the roll as an Orioles fan. The one instance that stands out was during a January Fan Fest. It was pre-MASN days and he was in the CSN booth to sign autographs
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Veteran bluesman John Hammond to perform at Bordentown Record Collector - The Times of Trenton - NJ.com
Google News - over 5 years
When it comes to the blues, John Hammond doesn't mess around. He gives it to you straight – his vocals wail, moan, and croon – as does his guitar. Together, the guitar and his vocals are one entity, and they tell a climactic story
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OB Landmarks Meeting July 27 for Church and Inn Preservation - Oyster Bay Enterprise Pilot
Google News - over 5 years
The article continued, “She showed Historian John Hammond and James Foote the original order to pay Walt Whitman for the work on the church and there was a debate on if it was Walt Whitman Junior or Senior. “So we are continuing our exploration of that
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Vandals smash graves - The Border Mail
Google News - over 5 years
Cemetery secretary John Hammond said the vandals had no idea of the heartache they has caused for the family and friends of the deceased. “There were porcelain flowers that are 100 years old and these mindless cretins come along and smash them,” Mr
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Perth couple distraught after fetus 'thrown out' - Ninemsn
Google News - over 5 years
Their lawyer, John Hammond, said the hospital had to report the death of a fetus to the Registry of Deaths and Births after 20 weeks. "They are entitled to bury or cremate the body after 20 weeks," Mr Hammond told PerthNow. Despite Lisa being only 17
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Bill Dixon's Dance Notation - Village Voice
Google News - over 5 years
Ornette, Cecil, and Don Cherry were on Blue Note; Ayler and Pharoah joined Coltrane and Archie Shepp on Impulse; and John Hammond recorded Burton Greene and Sunny Murray for Columbia. But Coltrane's death and several other twists, including rock's
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This Day in Music: July 10th - Gibson
Google News - over 5 years
1987, producer and record executive John Hammond died. He brought Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Leonard Cohen and Bruce Springsteen to Columbia Records. He also produced Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman and Count Basie
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Milwaukee Bucks GM John Hammond Takes A Page From The Book Of Kahn - We're Bucked
Google News - over 5 years
Milwaukee Bucks GM John Hammond has done something similar over the past year, particularly at the power forward position. Milwaukee entered the 2010-11 season with five power forwards on their roster and Andrew Bogut as the team's only pure center
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of John H. Hammond
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1987
    Age 76
    Hammond died on July 10th, 1987 after a series of strokes.
    More Details Hide Details It is said that he died listening to the music of Billie Holiday. John's Idea, originally titled "I May Be Wrong It's John's Idea", is a tribute to John Hammond written by Count Basie.
  • 1985
    Age 74
    In 1985, Hammond had his first stroke.
    More Details Hide Details Although this impaired him physically, his wife's death truly affected his mentality. Esme Hammond was diagnosed with breast cancer. While treatments worked for sometime, she died May 19, 1986 of complications of AIDS, which had been contracted from a blood transfusion.
  • 1983
    Age 72
    In 1983, he brought guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan to Columbia and was credited as executive producer on his debut album.
    More Details Hide Details Hammond believed jazz music to have originated as an African-American musical genre. For this reason, he generally preferred African-American musicians to Caucasian musicians. Hammond even writes that whites, such as the members of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, stole this musical form from Negro musicians when they released the first jazz records. When Hammond entered the jazz community, integration had not yet begun. Black and white musicians rarely played together and often the prestigious locations only permitted white audiences. Hammond remembers that before the 1920s, black musicians could always find jobs, even if they were low paying. After the instatement of Local 802, a union of professional musicians within New York City, Hammond saw more whites receiving jobs than blacks. However, this did not stop the African-American musicians. Through burlesque and record making, these musicians continued to be a presence.
  • 1971
    Age 60
    Hammond received a Grammy Trustees Award for being credited with co-producing a Bessie Smith reissue in 1971, and in 1986 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
    More Details Hide Details Hammond's son, John P. Hammond, became an American Blues musician. Hammond was one of the original men to racially integrate the music industry. Before the Civil Rights Act passed, Tom Wilson, an African American, replaced Hammond as Bob Dylan's record producer. There was no uproar in regards to this replacement.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1949
    Age 38
    Just a year later, in 1949, Hammond met Esme Sarnoff, originally Esme O'Brien, the former wife of NBC chairman Robert W. Sarnoff and a daughter of Mary and Esmond O'Brien.
    More Details Hide Details Esme shared Hammond's musical passion and was planning to divorce her husband. That year, Hammond married Esme Sarnoff. By this marriage Hammond had one stepdaughter, (Esme) Rosita Sarnoff (born 1943). During this time, Hammond's father passed away on a golf course. Left a widow, Emily Hammond became infatuated with Frank Buchman.
  • 1948
    Age 37
    In 1948, Jemy asked Hammond for a divorce.
    More Details Hide Details While he was originally reluctant, Hammond agreed to the divorce. Jemy never remarried.
  • 1946
    Age 35
    In 1946, Hammond was discharged from the military.
    More Details Hide Details His family moved Greenwich Village, where Jemy gave birth to their third son, Jason. Hammond threw himself back into his work, which greatly upset his wife.
  • 1944
    Age 33
    While he was still in basic training, Jemy gave birth to their second child, Douglas, early in 1944.
    More Details Hide Details Douglas came down with a serious illness. While Jemy sent Hammond a telegram to alert him of his newborn's condition, Hammond stated that he never received it. Jemy speculated that Hammond was in a concert and disregarded the letter; however, that claim has been proven unlikely due to Hammond's strict schedule in basic training. Douglas died shortly after birth from his illness, and Jemy had to undergo the family tragedy without her husband. Hammond returned after basic training on a three-day pass, but he and his wife were distant. After basic training, Hammond reported to Camp Plauche, where he was placed to organize activities for the black soldiers. During this time period, African American soldiers were given little to do within the military. There was still a large amount of racism in the military at this time. Hammond began his efforts by organizing concerts for the soldiers featuring African American musicians. Hammond noted that shortly after this these concerts began, an integrated sports team formed. Toward the end of World War II, Hammond was transferred to Fort Benning, known for its intense racism. Hammond was not the only jazz affiliate irritated with racism. During this time period, bebop music grew out of late night jam sessions of black musicians. Hammond was not much a part of the bebop movement, but he shared the sentiment against racism.
  • 1943
    Age 32
    In November of 1943, Hammond began military training.
    More Details Hide Details He underwent his basic training at Fort Belvoir. Hammond was much older than the majority of the other men, and he had a rough time adjusting to the military life.
  • 1942
    Age 31
    On March 21, 1942, Hammond's sister, Alice married Benny Goodman.
    More Details Hide Details She had previously been married to George Duckworth. Hammond did not look kindly upon this marriage. Hammond and Goodman had a falling out, some of which has been attributed to their differing backgrounds.
    In November of 1942, Jemy gave birth to their first son, John P. Hammond.
    More Details Hide Details
    In 1942, Hammond took his wife on a road trip to Los Angeles.
    More Details Hide Details Shortly after this trip, Jemy realized that she was pregnant.
    They also had four daughters: Emily, Adele, Rachel, and Alice, who married musician Benny Goodman in 1942.
    More Details Hide Details Born in New York to great wealth as the great-grandson of William Henry Vanderbilt, Hammond showed interest in music from an early age. At age four he began studying the piano, only to switch to the violin at age eight. He was steered toward classical music by his mother, but was more interested in the music sung and played by the servants, many of whom were black. He was known to go down to his basement to listen to the upbeat music in the servant's quarters. He loved Sir Harry Lauder's "Roamin' in the Gloamin'". While he was in the basement, the rest of his family in the greater part of the five-story mansion would listen to "the great opera tenor Enrico Caruso, as well as to standard classics by Beethoven, Brahms, and Mozart". Hammond became interested in social reform at a young age. His mother had a large interest in social reform as a means to give back some of her fortune to the community. She often found solace in Religion. Hammond shared her desire to help the community with his privilege.
  • 1941
    Age 30
    On March 8th, 1941, Hammond married Jemy in New Haven Connecticut.
    More Details Hide Details The couple had a small, non-denominational wedding with only about ten guests. Although both sets of parents approved of the couple, neither set attended the wedding.
    This pre-occupation with social issues was to continue, and in 1941 he was one of the founders of the Council on African Affairs.
    More Details Hide Details Hammond was given to exaggeration when speaking of his own achievements, but he had much to be acclaimed for.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1940
    Age 29
    Early in his career, Hammond focused more on his work than his love life. While he was seen publicly with various women, the relationships were never substantial. However, in 1940 at a Manhattan party, Hammond met Jemison "Jemy" McBride.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1933
    Age 22
    Hammond's work with civil rights came from multiple angles. In 1933, he traveled South to attend a trial regarding the Scottsboro case, a case in which two white girls accused nine black boys of raping them.
    More Details Hide Details The testimonies of the two girls did not align with the story. While the all nine boys were convicted, Hammond viewed this trial as a "catalyst for black activism". Record integration became an important component of jazz music. Starting in 1935, musicians began to record in mixed-race groups. While some of this integration had already taken place, Hammond remembers it as being hidden. However, in 1935, the Goodman Trio began recording. In 1936, the group appeared in a live concert at the Chicago Hot Jazz Society. Hammond fondly remembers this as an innovative moment in jazz history. J. Edgar Hoover, FBI director, investigated Hammond's link to the Communist Party. Due to the various benefits and fund-raisers that Hammond hosted for the popular front, his name was often listed in The Daily Worker, a communist newspaper. Furthermore, his name often appeared on the letterheads of left-wing organizations for which he was a donor or member. However, Hammond was not a communist.
    Later in 1933, he heard Teddy Wilson, a jazz pianist, on the Chicago radio.
    More Details Hide Details While he did not discover him, he was able to provide significant opportunities for him, even some collaboration with Billie Holiday.
    In 1933, he helped Benny Goodman receive a record deal with Columbia Records, which at the time was only known as English Columbia.
    More Details Hide Details During this time, Goodman was in need of a big break, as he had been receiving a reputation as being difficult to work with. Hammond proposed that Goodman produce a multiracial record; however, Goodman believed this route would hurt his musical reputation. Furthermore, in this year, he broke out of the traditional role of a producer and became a talent scout, after hearing Billie Holiday. He remarks that he was astounded to discover that she was the daughter of Clarence Holiday from Fletcher Henderson's band. That same year, he was able to get her involved in the Benny Goodman Orchestra. Hammond attributes fate to his finding of Holiday. After hearing her sing for the first time, he wrote, "She weighs over 200 pounds, is incredibly beautiful, and sings as well as anybody I have ever heard."
    1933 was a defining year for Hammond.
    More Details Hide Details He remembers this year being extraordinary due to his establishment of relationships with British record companies. Hammond was able to secure contracts for various musicians. He was an attractive producer to these companies because he did not desire a profit for himself.
    He played a role in organizing Benny Goodman's band, and in persuading him to hire black musicians such as Charlie Christian, Teddy Wilson and Lionel Hampton. In 1933 he heard the seventeen-year-old Billie Holiday perform in Harlem and arranged for her recording debut, on a Benny Goodman session.
    More Details Hide Details Four years later, he heard the Count Basie orchestra broadcasting from Kansas City and brought it to New York, where it began to receive national attention. In 1938, he organized the first From Spirituals to Swing concert at Carnegie Hall, presenting a broad program of blues, jazz and gospel artists, including Ida Cox, Big Joe Turner, Albert Ammons, Meade "Lux" Lewis, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Count Basie orchestra, Sidney Bechet, Sonny Terry, James P. Johnson, and Big Bill Broonzy (who took the place of the murdered Robert Johnson). He coordinated a second From Spirituals to Swing concert in 1939. After serving in the military during World War II, Hammond felt unmoved by the bebop jazz scene of the mid-1940s. Rejoining Columbia Records in the late 1950s, he signed Pete Seeger and Babatunde Olatunji to the label, and discovered Aretha Franklin, then an eighteen-year-old gospel singer. In 1961, he heard folk singer Bob Dylan playing harmonica on a session for Carolyn Hester and signed him to Columbia and kept him on the label despite the protests of executives, who referred to Dylan as "Hammond's folly". He produced Dylan's early recordings, "Blowin' in the Wind" and "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall".
  • 1932
    Age 21
    By 1932–1933, through his involvement in the UK music paper Melody Maker, Hammond arranged for the faltering US Columbia label to provide recordings for the UK Columbia label, mostly using the Columbia W-265000 matrix series.
    More Details Hide Details Hammond recorded Fletcher Henderson, Benny Carter, Joe Venuti, and other jazz performers during a time when the economy was bad enough that many of them would not have had the opportunity to enter a studio and play real jazz. In 1934, Hammond is known to have introduced Benny Goodman and Fletcher Henderson. It is said that Hammond convinced the musicians to 'swing' the current jazz hits, so that they could play in a free manner like the original New Orleans Jazz. Hammond always strived for racial integration within the musical scene. For this purpose, he frequently visited musicians in Harlem as to connect with musicians in their own area. While initially his race proved a problem in connecting with this community, he formed relationships with various musicians that allowed him to surpass this barrier. His friendship with Benny Carter gave him a status in this area that allowed him to enter this musical community.
    In 1932, Hammond acquired a nonpaying job on the WEVD radio station as a disc jockey.
    More Details Hide Details Hammond did not discriminate when choosing which musicians to air; in fact, the station allowed Hammond complete freedom on the station as long as he paid for his time slot. Through this position, Hammond gained a reputation as a well-educated jazz fan. Various musicians were guests on his show, including, Fletcher Henderson, Benny Carter, and Art Tatum. When the station transferred from the Broadway Central Hotel to the Claridge Hotel, the new venue would not allow the black musicians to use the main elevator. For this reason, Hammond quit his work with WEVD.
  • 1931
    Age 20
    In 1931, he funded the recording of pianist Garland Wilson, marking the beginning of a long string of artistic successes as record producer.
    More Details Hide Details He moved to Greenwich Village, where he claimed to have engaged in bohemian life and worked for an integrated music world. He set up one of the first regular live jazz programs, and wrote regularly about the racial divide. As he wrote in his memoirs, "I heard no color line in the music. To bring recognition to the negro's supremacy in jazz was the most effective and constructive form of social protest I could think of."
    Much to the disappointment of his father, a Yale alum, in 1931, he dropped out of school, for a career in the music industry, first becoming the U.S. correspondent for Melody Maker.
    More Details Hide Details
  • TEENAGE
  • 1930
    Age 19
    In the fall semester of 1930, Hammond had to withdraw due to a re-occurring case of jaundice.
    More Details Hide Details Hammond had no desire to a repeat a semester, which contributed to his dissatisfaction with the University lifestyle.
  • 1929
    Age 18
    In the fall of 1929, Hammond entered Yale University as a member of the class of 1933, where he studied the violin and, later, viola.
    More Details Hide Details He felt a disconnect with his fellow students at Yale and saw himself as a man already well acquainted with the professional world. He made frequent trips into New York and wrote regularly for trade magazines.
  • 1923
    Age 12
    In 1923, Hammond graduated from St. Bernard's School at the age of 14.
    More Details Hide Details He persuaded his family to allow him to attend Hotchkiss School due to its liberal curriculum. Hammond's love for music flourished. However, he felt limited within the confines of a boarding school. Hammond even succeeded in convincing the headmaster to allow him to go into the city every other weekend, a rare privilege, so that he could take lessons from Ronald Murat. However, the headmaster was not aware that outside of his formal lessons, he would sneak off to Harlem to hear the jazz music. During this time, he states that he heard the music of Bessie Smith at the The Harlem Alhambra, although this claim has been disputed by Smith's biographer.
  • 1922
    Age 11
    Ironically, Hammond notes that the first jazz music that he was exposed to was in London on a trip with his family around 1922.
    More Details Hide Details He heard a band called The Georgians, a Caucasian improvisational jazz group, and saw a Negro show called "From Dixie to Broadway", that featured Sidney Bechet. This trip changed the way that he saw music. Upon his return to the states, he searched for records by Negro musicians but could not find them in the greater Manhattan area. He learned the Negro musicians had to sell within different stores, so he began to search for this music in Harlem.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1910
    Born
    Born in 1910.
    More Details Hide Details
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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