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