The L. A. Treasures Project (Capri Records)
Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra
Released April 15, 2014
Grammy Nominee for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album 2015
“Snooky” Young always said we were the best big band in the land. Even though I don’t let his words go to my head, I love our band! Our band members always bring a collective high level to the music that can’t be touched. Combine this with Barbara and Ernie and you’ve got something special.
The L.A. Treasures Project was recorded live in the intimate setting at Alva’s Music in San Pedro California to an audience of avid fans and supporters. This historic project features the vocal talents of two of L.A.’s great treasures: Ernie Andrews, whose hard swinging, gospel rooted style is featured on Beautiful Friendship, The Jug and I and I’m Getting Sentimental Over You; and Barbara Morrison, who gives her elegant and playful treatments to Fever, Gotta Get Back to L.A.and Exactly Like You.
1. I Love Being Here With You (Peggy Lee / Milton Raskin / Bob Schluger) 3:23
2. Exactly Like You (Dorothy Fields / Jimmy McHugh) 3:57
3. The Jug and I (Percy Mayfield) 5:03
4. Hat’s Dance (Jeff Hamilton / Tamir Hendelman) 6:42
5. I’m Getting Sentimental Over You (George Bassman / Ned Washington) 5:21
6. Got To Get Back To L.A. (Barbara Morrison) 3:50
7. Goodbye Porkpie Hat (Charles Mingus) 6:20
8. River’s Invitation (Percy Mayfield) 4:27
9. Beautiful Friendship (Donald Kahn / Stanley Styne) 3:20
10. I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But the Blues (Duke Ellington / Larry Fotin / Don George) 7:16
11. Time After Time (Sammy Cahn / Jule Styne) 4:54
12. Fever (Otis Blackwell / Eddie Cooley) 4:38
13. Jazz Party (John Clayton) 4:36
John Clayton: arco bass
Jeff Clayton: alto saxophone
Jeff Hamilton: drums
Bijon Watson: trumpet
Gilbert Castellanos: trumpet
James Ford: trumpet
Brian Swartz: trumpet
Jamie Hovorka: trumpet
Ira Nepus: trombone
George Bohanon: trombone
Ryan Porter: trombone
Maurice Spears: trombone
Keith Fiddmont: alto saxophone
Ricky Woodard: tenor saxophone
Charles Owens: tenor saxophone
Lee Callet: baritone saxophone
Tamir Hendelman: piano
Christopher Luty: bass
Graham Dechter: electric guitar
Ernie Andrews: vocals Barbara Morrison: vocals
Recorded September 15, 2013, at Alvas Showroom, San Pedro, CA
Produced by John Clayton Jr., Jeff Clayton and Jeff Hamilton
Mixed by Steve Genewick
Mastered by RonMcMaster
Art Direction: Shelley Hubbard
Closing in on its 30th anniversary, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra continues its commitment to straight-off-the-bone swing. The CHJO’s new live recording, The L.A. Treasures Project, is an ebullient collection of tracks, the band taking a set of razor-sharp arrangements from bassist-conductor John Clayton out for a spin.
Recorded last September at Alvas music store in San Pedro, L.A. Treasures is partly a showcase for two of Los Angeles’ most venerated vocal talents. Barbara Morrison sets the house ablaze with her own rager of a compositional tribute to her adopted hometown, “Got to Get Back to L.A.,” and unfurls a more delicate touch with a mellow take on Percy Mayfield’s “River’s Invitation,” featuring playful accompaniment from pianist Tamir Hendelman. Ernie Andrews distills the blues to its essence on Mayfield’s “The Jug and I,” and proves an adept crooner on the Cahn/Styne chestnut “Time After Time,” backed by sensitive strains from Hendelman and bassist Christoph Luty.
The instrumentals burst with energy, with airtight horn parts. Guitarist Graham Dechter suggests a more learned B.B. King on “I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But the Blues,” and “Hat’s Dance,” composed by Hendelman and co-leader Jeff Hamilton, stands as another album highlight. On the Mingus classic “Goodbye Porkpie Hat,” co-leader Jeff Clayton’s heartbreaking alto flute, joined with a moody bowed-bass duet from John Clayton and Luty, give this legendary lament appropriate weight and purpose.
The L.A. Treasures Project is a stirring snapshot of one of current jazz’s most vital large ensembles, and a fitting presentation of two evergreen vocal giants of the Los Angeles scene.
Matt. R. Lohr (JazzTimes)