"I always want the melody to imitate the human voice and most importantly, it always has to swing."
D’Amico’s sound has evolved over the years, honed in performances with his own trio and a variety of other musicians, most notably bassist and lifelong friend Milt “the Judge” Hinton, whom the pianist credits as one of the primary influences on his career. “Several years back, I played a few of the tracks on my earlier release, Ponte Novello, for Milt – he’d only performed on one track on the CD – and he just smiled at me and said, ‘Man, you found your niche.”
D’Amico first met Milt Hinton in 1974 in a jazz workshop, and the two immediately took to each other so strongly that within a short time D’Amico started teaching the workshop with Hinton. Their collaboration as educators would last for some 18 years, until 1992. Hinton joined his protégé on D’Amico’s recording debut in 1982, Envisage, which also featured drummer Bob Rosengarden (it was re-released on CD in 2003.)
In addition to Milt Hinton, another musician whose influence D’Amico cites as key is Mike Longo, established pianist and musical director for many of Dizzy Gillespie’s bands. Longo’s CAP Records has released all four of D’Amico’s CD releases.