(1×25’) Central TV – Arts Council of Great Britain
Producer: Sunandan Walia
Director: Yugesh Walia
Photography: Peter Rance, Philip Chavannes
Film Editor: Tim Farmer
Conceived & inspired by Malu Halasa
Executive Producers: Jim Berrows & Rodney Wilson
Andy Hamilton was a unique figure in Birmingham jazz. This film, shot entirely on location in the city, traces his musical career, incorporating archive footage with a mixture of rehearsals, recording and performance. Hamilton was one of the original Caribbean musicians who settled in the West Midlands in the 50’s. The Blue Notes, his own combo, has been playing for over 40 years. His greatest influence was through teaching and his 16 piece big band The Blue Pearls introduced a new generation of local youth of jazz. His own origins in music were completely different to those of some young musicians.
As a child in a tropical climate he began by making instruments from tin cans or sticks. When he was older he fashioned a saxophone completely from bamboo. However his formal introduction to music came, as it does for many black musicians, from within the church. Hamilton’s achievements lie not as a recording artist, but as a performer and teacher, passing on his skills to younger generations. When in his 70’s, he fell seriously ill and lay in a coma in hospital, a song he had written in Jamaica in 1946 for Errol Flynn began to play in the recesses of his mind and he said he was brought back to consciousness by the compelling need to play it once again. He called the song Silver Shine.