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Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra

In 1985, drummer Jeff Hamilton joined bassist John Clayton and saxophonist Jeff Clayton to form the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.

Together with an all-star lineup of Los Angeles-based musicians (including Snooky Young, Ricky Woodard, George Bohanon, Oscar Brashear, Bill Cunliffe, etc.), the big band received an enthusiastic response from reviewers and fans. Its first recording, Groove Shop (Capri), was named by CD Review as one of the best recordings of 1990. It also earned a Grammy Award nomination.

Jeff received rave reviews for his dynamic drumming on Heart and Soul (Capri). David Badham of Jazz Journal International stated in his review: “This is one of the finest modern big band issues I’ve heard”. Other CD releases include Absolutely! (1993, Lake Street Records) and Explosive! featuring Milt Jackson (1998, Qwest) and Shout Me Out (2000, Fable/Lightyear).

Between 1999 and 2001, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra was the in-residence ensemble for the Hollywood Bowl Jazz series. The Orchestra was elected as Best Big Band in the 2003 Downbeat Magazine Readers Poll. In the Summer of 2004, the band successfuly toured Europe for us, performing Festivals in Scandinavia , France , Holland , Spain , Portugal , etc.

Personnel for Live at MCG

John Clayton — conductor, bass
Jeff Clayton — lead alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, alto flute, flute
Jeff Hamilton — drums
Keith Fiddmont — alto saxophone, clarinet
Rickey Woodward — tenor saxophone, clarinet
Charles Ownen — tenor saxophone
Lee Callet — bariton saxophone, bass clarinet
Bijon Watson — lead trumpet
Sal Cracciolo — trumpet
Snooky Young — trumpet
Clay Jenkins — trumpet
Gilbert Castellanos — trumpet
Ira Nepus — lead trombone
George Bohanon — trombone
Ryan Porter — trombone
Maurice Spears — bass trombone
Tamir Hendelman — piano
Randy Napoleon — guitar
Christoph Luty — bass


Album Review

Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra: The L.A. Treasures Project

Read "The L.A. Treasures Project" reviewed by Dr. Judith Schlesinger

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. ...

Album Review

Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra: The L.A. Treasures Project

Read "The L.A. Treasures Project" reviewed by Edward Blanco

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 ...

Live Review

Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra at Mesa Arts Center

Read "Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra at Mesa Arts Center" reviewed by Patricia Myers

Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra Mesa Arts Center Mesa, Arizona March 7, 2014 The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, one of the best big bands in the nation for three decades, swung mightily all night long with strong section work and stylish solos arranged for specific members, per Duke Ellington and Count Basie. A brief post-intermission QA period from triumverate co-leaders bassist John Clayton, saxophonist Jeff Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton added personal insights for a full house of ...

Album Review

Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra: Live at MCG

Read "Live at MCG" reviewed by Jim Santella

You can feel the echoes of Woody Herman, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington in every song that the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra interprets. You can feel the cool swing of Henry Mancini and the hard bop syncopation of Horace Silver too. And, of course, you can feel the all-star quality that this big band brings with it everywhere it goes.

Performing live at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild in Pittsburgh last year, the band gave local audiences a powerful dose ...

Album Review

Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra: Live at MCG

Read "Live at MCG" reviewed by Woodrow Wilkins

It's not easy to top a live performance by a big band at the Manchester's Craftsman's Guild. The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra continues the tradition of creating some of the grooviest, swinging jazz to hit the CD racks in recent memory. And that says a lot, considering what's out there. With Live at MCG, the band celebrates its 20th year in grand fashion.The group goes old-school on this outing, revisiting compositions by such renowned composers as Hoagy Carmichael, Horace ...

Album Review

Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra: Live at MCG

Read "Live at MCG" reviewed by John Kelman

Sometimes a live recording does nothing more than highlight a performance that, while fun to attend, doesn't really bear repeated exposure. On the other hand, some manage to vividly capture the excitement, energy and magic of a show, making their listeners wish they could have been there. Now twenty years old, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra--co-led by bassist/arranger/conductor John Clayton, woodwind multi-instrumentalist Jeff Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton--has been gaining an increasingly strong reputation since its '89 recorded debut, Groove Shop, ...

Album Review

Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra: Live at MCG

Read "Live at MCG" reviewed by Jack Bowers

For me, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra has been an acquired taste. I was less enamored than others with its first two releases, Groove Shop and Heart and Soul, but since then the orchestra has produced a series of winners (Absolutely!, Explosive!, Shout Me Out) and marks its twentieth anniversary with what is arguably its most impressive album to date, Live at MCG (Manchester Craftsmen's Guild).

One reason for the steady improvement is consistency; several of these gentlemen have been with ...

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