Chico Hamilton Quintet – The Sweet Smell Of Success (1957/2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 45:38 minutes | 783 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © RevOla

Chico Hamilton had his first brush with Hollywood in 1957. Riding high on the popularity of his adventurous quintet of the time-reedist/flutist Paul Horn, bassist Carson Smith, cellist Fred Katz, guitarist John Pisano-he and the band were cast in Sweet Smell of Success, a gritty black-and-white film about a ruthless Walter Winchell-style, New York City tabloid-gossip columnist, J.J. Hunsecker, played by a dour Burt Lancaster, who wields his power like a club. The plot of this sharp-edged media satire thickens when J.J.’s younger sister, played by Susan Harrison, begins dating the clean-cut young jazz guitarist in the Chico Hamilton Quintet, Steve Dallas, played by Martin Milner. Tony Curtis turns in a brilliant performance as the unctuous Broadway press agent Sidney Falco, who would sell his own mother to get an item in J.J.’s column.

As the story unfolds-intercut with scenes from the jazz club where Hamilton and his crew are holding forth each night-the overprotective older brother learns of his sister’s romantic dalliance and enlists Falco’s aid in ruining the reputation of the young jazz guitarist. The toadying Falco then plants marijuana on the young, unsuspecting guitarist and tips off a sadistic New York City cop, who not only arrests the jazzbo but also beats him to within an inch of his life. In the final act, J.J. gets his comeuppance, as does Falco. It’s your basic “guitarist finds girl, guitarist loses girl, guitarist loses gig but ends up with girl” story.

From the opening credits of Sweet Smell of Success, co-written by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman, Hamilton’s quintessentially jazzy, Papa Jo-flavored hi-hat work sets the tone for this penetrating, noirish melodrama set almost entirely at night in and around Manhattan’s Times Square (though it was actually filmed in Hollywood). And not only does Hamilton add to the film’s period richness with his hip presence and sartorial splendor on the bandstand, he also has a few lines in backstage scenes (actually a back alley behind the club). But as the great drummer-bandleader-composer maintains 44 years later, the script he was initially handed was well off the mark.


1. Chico Hamilton Quintet – Goodbye, Baby Blues (Remastered)
2. Chico Hamilton Quintet – Cheek To Chico (Remastered)
3. Chico Hamilton Quintet – Susan-The Sage (Remastered)
4. Chico Hamilton Quintet – Sidney’s Theme (Remastered)
5. Chico Hamilton Quintet – Jonalah (Remastered)
6. Chico Hamilton Quintet – Jam (Remastered)
7. Chico Hamilton Quintet – Night Beat (Remastered)
8. Chico Hamilton Quintet – Love Scene (Susan-The Sage) (Remastered)
9. Chico Hamilton Quintet – Goodbye, Baby (Remastered)
10. Chico Hamilton Quintet – Hunsecker Operates (Remastered)
11. Chico Hamilton Quintet – Hot Dogs And Juice (Remastered)
12. Chico Hamilton Quintet – Concerto Of Themes From ‘Sweet Smell Of Success’ (Remastered)