After a bit of a hiatus, it is time to regenerate and begin posting recipes from these awesome musicians. This week features Milt Hinton, an incredible bassist who traveled the world with Cab Calloway, among many others.
Here is one of Milt’s songs to play while you make this wonderful meatloaf dish to warm your souls on a cold, winter night.
“Right Here, Right Now” from the recording, The Judge At His Best
Milt Hinton – Bassist and Photographer
Milt “The Judge” Hinton was regarded as the Dean of jazz bass players. He was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1910, and at the age of eleven moved to Chicago with his family. He began his musical education by taking private violin lessons, but while attending Chicago’s Wendell Phillips High School and playing in a band sponsored by the Chicago Defender newspaper, he learned to play bass horn, tuba, cello, and eventually the bass violin. In l936, Milt joined Cab Calloway and for fifteen years performed with Calloway and renowned sidemen such as Danny Barker, Chu Berry, Doc Cheatham, Cozy Cole, Dizzy Gillespie, Quentin Jackson, Illinois Jacquet, Jonah Jones, Ike Quebec, and Ben Webster. During this period he was also featured on numerous recordings accompanying Benny Carter, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Coleman Hawkins, Billie Holiday, Ethel Waters, and Teddy Wilson – to name just a few. Most of these sessions have become jazz classics.
Milt has played with virtually every jazz and popular artist from Ellington, Coltrane and the Marsalis Brothers to Streisand, Midler and McCartney. In the late 80s Chiaroscuro Records released Old Man Time , a double cd featuring Milt along with many life-long friends from the music world. Laughin’ at Life, was released by Columbia Records in 1995 and Chiaroscuro recently released The Judge at His Best, a selection of his recordings on that label over three decades, and the Bassment Tapes, which features Milt performing with groups he assembled.
In June 2000, a concert was held to pay tribute to Milt on the occasion of his 90th Birthday. Milt passed away six months later.
In late 2002, Keeping Time: The Life, Music & Photographs of Milt Hinton, a one hour documentary film was completed. It was produced and directed by David G. Berger and Holly Maxson. It debuted at the London Film Festival, won the Audience Award at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2003, and has been shown at film festival both here and abroad.
Hinton honed his cooking skills on the road with Cab Calloway’s band, which is where Millionaire Meatloaf originated. In Hinton’s words: “Since we couldn’t sit in restaurants, Cab, being a very engineering man who tried to keep us out of as much of that stuff as possible, bought an electric stove, a big thing that you could put a roasted turkey in. It had three compartments. We had a case made for it and we carried plates and knives and forks. Most theaters in those days had a kitchen, but if they didn’t we could use our stove and cook our dinner between shows. Several guys in the band would team up to cook. Tyree Glenn, the trombone player, and I liked to cook together. We would get up early and go to the store, set up the kitchen down in the basement of the theater and cook. Tyree liked a thing called Millionaire Meatloaf. We called it that because it wasn’t cheap at all.”
Millionaire Meatloaf Recipe
Milt Hinton describes the recipe in storytelling form. To stay true to form, I will give you the recipe just as I found it in the Jazz Cooks book.
“It had one pound of ground beef, a pound of sausage meat and a pound of veal, ground up. We mashed it all up, put in salt and pepper and powdered garlic, took five or six slices of bread, crumbled them up and mixed it in there. Then we put in one egg. For three pounds we’d use up one large onion, one large green pepper, and two sticks of celery, chopped up fine. You mixed it in, kneaded it like you knead bread, and formed it into a loaf. We’d put a slight amount of butter on the bottom, cover it and let it cook at 350 degrees for an hour during shows.
“When we came off the first show, we’d put in a can of tomato puree and let it cook for another half hour or so. In the other two compartments we had some baked rice and something green. After the second show, about 5:30 or 6:00, all the guys in the band had their own plates and knives and forks and they’d come back and have a wonderful dinner. We made Cab get in line just like everybody else. He couldn’t go to those restaurants either.”