Stuart Hamm

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Stuart "Stu" Hamm (born February 8, 1960) is an American bass guitar player, known for his session and live work with numerous artists as well for his unconventional playing style and solo recordings.

Contents

Beginning career

Born in New Orleans, Hamm spent his childhood and youth in Champaign, Illinois, where he studied bass and piano, played in the stage band at Champaign High School, and was selected to the Illinois All-State Band. Hamm graduated from Hanover High in Hanover, New Hampshire in 1978 while living in Norwich, Vermont. Following high school, he attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he met guitarist Steve Vai and, through him, met Joe Satriani. Hamm played bass on Vai's debut solo album, Flex-Able, which was released in 1984.

Hamm has performed and recorded with Steve Vai, Frank Gambale, Joe Satriani and many other well-respected guitarists. It was playing live on tour with Satriani that brought Hamm's skills to national attention. Subsequent recordings with Satriani and other rock/fusion artists, along with the release of his own solo recordings (featuring a.o. keyboard player Tommy Mars), solidified his reputation as a bassist and performer.

Style

Hamm's first solo album, Radio Free Albemuth, inspired by the Philip K. Dick novel of the same name, was released in 1988. On it, Hamm demonstrated his abilities on a number of original compositions spanning a variety of genres including fusion, country, and classical. On solo pieces like "Country Music (A night in Hell)," he demonstrates his slapping and two-handed tapping proficiency as well as the ability to make the bass imitate the sounds of a wide range of instruments; the piece has since become a popular live piece. On the same album, he performs an arrangement of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata.

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