A reliable and versatile drummer who sounds equally at home with a big band or combo, Jeff Hamilton has a strong reputation in the jazz world. He attended Indiana University, in 1974 was with the Tommy Dorsey ghost band, played briefly with Lionel Hampton, and then spent two years as a member of Monty Alexander's Trio (1975-1977). Hamilton was with Woody Herman's Orchestra (1977-1978), became a member of the L.A. Four (with whom he made six records), and started recording regularly as a sideman for Concord. During 1983-1987, he performed with Ella Fitzgerald, the Count Basie Orchestra, Rosemary Clooney, and Monty Alexander.
In the 1990s, Hamilton toured the world with Oscar Peterson and the Ray Brown trio, gigged with the Clayton Brothers' quartet, and was a co-leader (with John and Jeff Clayton) of the Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra. Jeff Hamilton has also occasionally led his own trio, recording for Lake Street and Mons.