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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra
Live at MCG



  1. Georgia
  2. Jody Grind
  3. Nature Boy
  4. Lullaby of the Leaves
  5. Silver Celebration (Tribute to Horace Silver)
  6. Captain Bill
  7. Mood Indigo
  8. Evidence
  9. Like A Lover
  10. Eternal triangle
  11. Squatty Roo

John Clayton – Conductor – Bass
Jeff Clayton – Lead Alto, Soprano, Flute, Alto Flute.
Jeff Hamilton – Drums
Keith Fiddmont – Alto, Clarinet
Rickey Woodward – Tenor, Clarinet
Charles Owens – Tenor
Lee Callet – Baritone, Bass Clarinet
Bijon Watson – Lead Trumpet
Sal Cracchiolo – Trumpet
Eugene "Snooky" Williams – 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
Recorded at the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, Pittsburgh, PA, May 2004.

This fine Big Band run by John Clayton, Jeff Clayton & Jeff Hamilton is worthy of investigation so that I can hear more of them, something I intend to do as a Christmas Project!

The band plays with great precision, cohesion and conviction; they obviously believe in what they are doing and have the ability to do it well. The ensemble passages are played beautifully, whether they are in Basie mode with Captain Bill or Dukal mode with Mood Indigo, they are equally convincing. They also have a fine array of soloists, Rickey Woodward plays a fine solo version of Georgia and George Bohanan’s trombone solo on Lullaby of the Leaves is very convincing. The piano playing of Tamir Hendleman is outstanding throughout. Captain Bill has some lovely melodic tenor from Charles Owens, how nice to hear someone who isn’t trying to sound like John Coltrane; he is also featured on Mood Indigo to good effect. The latter has a fine passage from the two bass players and a fine trombone solo from Ira Nepus.

The arrangements from John Clayton are always interesting and incorporate many different ensemble sounds, without trying to be clever for the sake of it. Having said that, I don’t think I would like to have to sight read many of them!

Like a Lover, features Snookie Young, who was one of the great cornermen of the Basie band and Jeff Clayton on Soprano. Jeff Hamilton’s drumming on this track is superb, as it is on the rest of the album. He is an amazing musician who seems comfortable in any setting, backing vocalists, small group jazz and a s he is here, with a big band.

Eternal Triangle is a bebop composition from the late Sonny Stitt, which features all of the saxes. Another saxophone giant Johnny Hodges wrote the last composition Squatty Roo, a terrific arrangements with some great solos.

The Clayton - Hamilton Jazz orchestra is a first class big band and a worthy successor to the great big bands of the past, this was my first exposure to them, but it will not be my last.

Don Mather

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