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Howard Robert Hammer (born March 3, 1930)<ref name="feather" /><ref name="cadence" /> is an American jazz pianist, composer and arranger.

Hammer was born in Indianapolis, Indiana.<ref name="feather" /><ref name="cadence" /> He began performing in Michigan at age 15 before studying at Michigan State University and the Manhattan School of Music.<ref name="feather" /> Hammer had familiarized himself with early jazz styles (his father had performed with territory bands during the 1930s), and while living in New York, he performed with musicians such as Red Allen and Bud Freeman.<ref name="cadence" /> During the early 1960s, he studied with composer Henry Brant (alongside Tom McIntosh and Julian Priester).<ref name="cadence" />

Hammer led a band with Bob Wilber (1955). He worked in the Sauter/Finnegan Orchestra,<ref name="feather" /> the Roy Eldridge Quartet (1956) and with Gene Krupa<ref name="feather" /> (1956/57). He was a member of Red Allen's<ref name="feather" /> band (1958–1962) and Eddie Condon's (1959/60) band. At that time he recorded with Charles Mingus<ref name="feather" /> (who called him his "Beethoven") and began to work as arranger for the bassist on Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus, Townhall Concert and the celebrated The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady. In 1963 he played with Pee Wee Russell, Krupa and Eldridge. In 1964 he was on tour with Bobby Hackett. From 1965 to 1967 he worked as arranger for the Merv Griffin Show. He recorded with Jimmy Knepper,<ref name="feather" /> Johnny Hartman,<ref name="feather" /> Woody Herman,<ref name="feather" /> Clark Terry,<ref name="feather" /> and Elvin Jones. Between 1977 and 1988 he worked as a member of show bands in Las Vegas. After an engagement with Slide Hampton he worked as instructor for jazz improvisation at El Camino Community College and played in the Jimmy Cleveland Octet. He also worked with Barbara McNair, the Tommy Newsome Quartet and the MDA Labor Day Telethon. In 2004 he recorded with Floyd Standifer's quintet. He also arranged dance charts for the Nicholas Brothers, Skip Cunningham, Chester Whitmore, Jacqueline Douget, Deborah Lysholm or Tim Hickey.


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