The exciting opener of this CD--the high-swinging welcome of I Love Being Here with You"--foreshadows the next 64 minutes of tight, crackling arrangements that are impeccably rendered and full of joy. The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, (CHJO) founded in 1985, has always been known for its full-hearted, world-class playing. The L.A Treasures" of this title refers to the soulful veteran vocalists, Barbara Morrison and Ernie Andrews, who get four splendid features apiece, each one gleaming anew in its luscious orchestral setting. Examples are Morrison's delightful delivery of Exactly Like You" and her sultry climb on Fever"; for his part, Andrews shows ...read more
The L.A. Treasures" heralded herein are singers Ernie Andrews (eighty-six years young when the album was recorded in September 2013) and Barbara Morrison (a relative novice at sixty-one). The idea to record sprang from rehearsals earlier that year by the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra in which Andrews and Morrison were invited to sit in. Afterward, co-leader John Clayton writes, it was decided that we need to document these artists . . . these treasures!" What a splendid idea! An idea, in fact, that leaves most others in its wake and gasping for breath. The album, taped before an ...read more
For nearly thirty-years now the Grammy-nominated Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra (CHJO) has been easily recognizable as one of the best big bands in the business. Led by bassist John Clayton, saxophonist and brother Jeff Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton, the group embarked on a mission to document their various rehearsals with West Coast vocal legends Ernie Andrews and Barbara Morrison, and do so with The L.A. Treasures Project recorded live in the famous Showroom of Alva's Dance Studio and Music Store in San Pedro, California. Presenting a mixture of instrumentals and vocal numbers, the opening I Love Being Here ...read more
If there were an award for “most improved big band,” the opinion here is that the C–HJO would win going away, as its two most recent albums ( Explosive!, with vibraphonist Milt Jackson, and now Shout Me Out! ) have moved well beyond its earlier endeavors to prove beyond any doubt that this is one of the most talented and exciting ensembles performing anywhere in the lower forty–eight. Clearly, the primary role model is Basie, and the C–HJO is emphatically adhering to the swinging blueprint laid bare by the Count and refined during his many years in the big–band trenches. ...read more
Vibraphonist Milt Jackson, 76, formed the roots of the Modern Jazz Quartet almost fifty years ago. That same lyrical quality that drives the MJQ stands before the fourteen-year-old Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, sharing, blending, and coaxing the melodies out of his vibraphone’s metal bars. The microphones are set up so that the listener has the same opportunity as one who is seated front and center, about seven rows back; piano and drums are on the left, while most of the horns are on the right. Jackson is in the center. The album offers much of the same material that was presented ...read more
In a recording career that's spanned more than half a century, the masterful vibraphonist Milt Jackson has seldom been less than flawless. For Explosive!, his fifth disc on Quincy Jones's well-distributed Qwest label, Jackson is suitably teamed with the well-populated Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. It too, is no exception; offering a sterling collection of Jackson's pleasing blend of blues and ballads.Jackson has only recorded with big bands on a surprisingly infrequent basis (his Verve recordings with Ray Brown, two dates from the early 1960s on Riverside and some work in the late 70s with Count Basie's band come to ...read more
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