Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Studio Music and Jazz (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Don Coffman

Second Committee Member

Charles Bergeron

Third Committee Member

Martin Bejerano

Fourth Committee Member

Brian Powell


In the world of jazz bass, Milt “The Judge” Hinton truly deserves a special place. Hinton has shared the bandstand and recording studio with countless famous jazz and poplar musicians in a career that spans over seventy years. Some of the highlights of his career include performances with Cab Calloway, Billy Holiday, Miles Davis, Count Basie, and Dizzy Gillespie, to name a few. Hinton also has thousands of recording credits to his name, more than any other jazz bass player. He was a significant figure in defining the role and sound of the jazz bass. The elegance, linear content, and drive of his bass lines provided a strong foundation and a prototypical model for generations of jazz bassists. He also created his unique approach to slap-bass technique. Furthermore, “The Judge” was a passionate jazz educator and historian. This doctoral essay will focus on the analysis of the harmonic implications and technical vocabulary of Hinton’s playing. As he was an educator, his pedagogical contributions to jazz will also be examined. Source material for this analysis will include a representative selection of his audio and video recordings, as well as relevant interviews and writings. This essay will hopefully inform both educators and students on the topics of jazz bass.


Milt Hinton; jazz bass; double bass; walking bass; slap bass; musical analyses