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Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra

About this Artist

John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton, and Jeff Clayton founded the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra (CHJO). While in their 20s, bassist John Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton toured and recorded with pianist Monty Alexander, then moved on to separate big-band environs. Hamilton joined Woody Herman, and John Clayton signed up for Count Basie. All along, alto saxophonist Jeff Clayton had been performing and recording in Los Angeles. In 1986, the three men came together in LA and formed the jazz orchestra.

In 2020, Jeff Clayton passed away after a lengthy illness. The CHJO reminds audiences that his spirit remains in every note that is played.

The excitement of this powerful 19-piece band is the result of its stellar performances and John Clayton’s writing. The music is composed and arranged by John Clayton, and it is not unusual to hear his take on a composition by Jeff Hamilton or something from the Hamilton trio book.

Along with multiple Grammy nominations, the orchestra is featured on recordings with Milt Jackson, Diana Krall, John Pizzarelli, Charles Aznavour, Ernie Andrews, Barbara Morrison, Natalie Cole, and many more.

From 1999 to 2001, they were the in-residence jazz orchestra for the Hollywood Bowl. Their busy schedule still finds them touring the U.S., Europe, and Japan, often premiering extended works at jazz festivals and in concert halls.

People often describe their sound as being influenced by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Thad Jones. This would never be denied by the orchestra, but one listen lets you know that their voice is unique, distinct, and impactful.