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For twenty-eight years, Charles Hamilton was the Director of the world renown Berkeley High School Jazz Program
He had been teaching music in the Berkeley Unified School District for ten years, when he was offered the chance to take over for Phil Hardymon, the developer, along with Herb Wong, of the Jazz Program. During Charles' tenure, he was the music teacher for many of the music industry's outstanding musicians, inspiring the likes of Joshua Redman, Miles Perkins, Josh Jones, Thomas Pridgen, Dave Ellis, Kito Gamble, John Smith, Ambrose Akinmusire, Hitomi Oba, Sean Erick, Billy Buss, and many others.
Charles' began performing in the mid-60's while still a teenager. In His home town of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he played trumpet in his high school band by day, and rhythm and blues in a back woods' night club band by night. He came to San Francisco in 1965, earning a Bachelor of Music Degree in Instrumental Music, Education emphasis, from San Francisco State.
He is only the second jazz educator ever to be awarded the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts "Distinguished Teachers in the Arts" award.
Besides Berkeley Unified School District, he has taught for San José State University, and Cañada Community College.
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