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The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra Comes to The Soraya, 4/5

The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra Comes to The Soraya, 4/5The Grammy-nominated Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, which captures the infectious fun of big band music, will perform at the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya) on Thursday, April 5 at 8:00pm. Jazz Times called the Los Angeles-based band, with a 32-year history, "one of current jazz's most vital large ensemble." Co-founder bassist John Clayton is a CSUN alumnus who has gone on to play with superstars such as Michael Jackson, Patti LaBelle and Madonna.

"We welcome back our illustrious CSUN alum, John Clayton, who along with his brother Jeff and band co-founder Jeff Hamilton, have put together an all-star lineup of Los Angeles based musicians and created the quintessential American jazz big-band," said Thor Steingraber, Executive Director of the Soraya. "I guarantee this will be one memorable night at The Soraya."

About Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra
In 1985, Jeff Hamilton joined bassist John Clayton and saxophonist Jeff Clayton to form the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Together, this big band of Los Angeles players received an enthusiastic response from reviewers and fans. It's first recording, Groove Shop, 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. Jazz Journal International said, "This is one of the finest modern big band issues I've heard... This is undoubtedly due to Jeff Hamilton, a most driving and technically accomplished drummer." Other releases include Absolutely! Explosive! featuring Milt Jackson and Shout Me Out (2000, Fable/Lightyear). From 1999-2001, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra was the in-residence ensemble for the Hollywood Bowl Jazz series.

More recently, the Orchestra released a very well-received live album, Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra: Live at MCG. And their latest release, The L.A. Treasures Project, has been nominated for a Grammy Award in the "Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album" category.

All About Jazz calls the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra "One of the best big bands in the unquestioned treasure."

This performance is part of The Soraya's diverse jazz programming which also includes Cecile McLorin Salvant (April 18 & 19) Amir El Saffar's New Rivers Ensemble (April 26) and Terence Blanchard Breathless (May 1 & 2) all of which will take place in The Soraya's new intimate Jazz Club setting.

Tickets for Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra priced from $33-$78, are now available at or by calling (818) 677-3000. The Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya) is located on the campus of California State University, Northridge (CSUN), 18111 Nordhoff Street Northridge, CA 91330-8448, at the corner of Nordhoff and Lindley. This production is generously sponsored by the Horace Heidt Big Band Foundation; Linda and Judd Swarzman.

About John Clayton (Bass)
John Clayton is a natural born multitasker. The multiple roles in which he excels -- composer, arranger, conductor, producer, educator, and yes, extraordinary bassist -- garner him a number of challenging assignments and commissions. With a Grammy on his shelf and eight additional nominations, artists such as Diana Krall, Paul McCartney, Regina Carter, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gladys Knight, Queen Latifah, and Charles Aznavour vie for a spot on his crowded calendar.

He began his bass career in elementary school playing in strings class, junior orchestra, high school jazz band, orchestra, and soul/R&B groups. In 1969, at the age of 16, he enrolled in bassist Ray Brown's jazz class at UCLA, beginning a close relationship that lasted more than three decades. After graduating from Indiana University's School of Music with a degree in bass performance in 1975, he toured with the Monty Alexander Trio (1975-77), the Count Basie Orchestra (1977-79), and settled in as principal bassist with the Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in Amsterdam, Netherlands (1980-85). He was also a bass instructor at The Royal Conservatory, The Hague, Holland from 1980-83.

In 1985 he returned to California, co-founded the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra in 1986, rekindled the The Clayton Brothers quintet, and taught part-time bass at Cal State Long Beach, UCLA and USC. In 1988 he joined the faculty of the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, where he taught until 2009. Now, in addition to individual clinics, workshops, and private students as schedule permits, John also directs the educational components associated with the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, Centrum Festival, and Vail Jazz Party.

Career highlights include arranging the 'Star Spangled Banner" for Whitney Houston's performance at Super Bowl 1990 (the recording went platinum), playing bass on Paul McCartney's CD Kisses On The Bottom, arranging and playing bass with Yo-Yo Ma and Friends on Songs of Joy and Peace, and arranging playing and conducting the 2009 CD Charles Aznavour with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, and numerous recordings with Diana Krall, the Clayton Brothers, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz, Orchestra, Milt Jackson, Monty Alexander and many others.

About Jeff Clayton (Alto Saxophone)
Born in 1955, alto saxophonist and multi-reed instrumentalist Jeff Clayton began his career as both a touring and studio musician. Clayton studied oboe and English Horn at California State University Northridge, completed 3 and one half years of study, and was asked to join Stevie Wonders band while attending college, where he spent 3 years recording and touring with the popular music giant.

Following Jeff's association with Stevie Wonder he recorded with Gladys Knight, Kenny Rogers, Michael Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Earth, Wind & Fire and Madonna. On Madonna's recording Back in Business, Jeff was nominated for a Grammy for best Pop soloist. In 1977 John and Jeff Clayton founded The Clayton Brothers Quartet with his brother, later to become the Clayton Brothers Quintet adding and featuring Terell Stafford on Trumpet.

Recently Jeff has been a main stay as Jeff has also toured with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Ella Fitzgerald, Woody Herman, Lionel Hampton, and Lena Horne, and played in the Count Basie Orchestra while under the leadership the Count and after Basie's passing with Thad Jones. From 1989 to 1991 he was also a member of the Phillip Morris Superband, a jazz star studded orchestra headed by Gene Harris and Ray Brown. He also toured with Gene Harris, Dianne Reeves, Joe Cocker, B.B. King and Ray Charles.

In 1985, Jeff again joined his brother John and drummer Jeff Hamilton to form the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, which continues to showcase original compositions and arrangements. In this role he has performed and recorded with Patty Austin, Kurt Elling, Milt Jackson, John Pizzarelli, and Dee Dee Bridgewater, Queen Latifa, Diana Krall,Nancy Wilson Michael Bubble Gladys Knight Benny Carter and Benny Golson, among many others. The CHJO was named Big Band of the Year in Down Beat Readers Poll 2003.

Jeff served at UCLA from 1998 to 2002 as an adjunct professor under the able leadership of Kenny Burrell Jazz Studies department head, and at the University of Southern California from 2000 to 2004 with Shelly Berg and Dr. Ron McCurdy. Also, he was an adjunct professor at CSU Long Beach 2005 thru 2007 and Cal State Los Angeles headed by Dr James Ford. Jeff and John Clayton were nominated Educators of the year in Jazz Times Magazine in 2005.

He has numerous Jazz Camps and Clinics to his credit including the Vail Jazz Camp 1994-2010, the Stanford Jazz Camp 2001,University of Notre Dame with Jon Faddis, 2003 again in 2010, and Port Townsend 1991-1993 and again 2004 thru 2010. Savannah Educational Jazz Festival in 2007 through 2011, University of Notre Dame Master Class and performance with his own group the Jeff Clayton Quartet.

Jeff was a devoted student of Bill Green, Los Angeles studio musician. Clayton said, " I studied with Bill starting on Clarinet at 9 years old until I was 37 years old. He was a mechanical genius, a committed teacher and a valued friend. He taught me all the saxes, flutes clarinets, oboes, english horns and recorders."

Jeff's philosophy towards his music can be summed up as follows: "Music is not mine to keep only to have and to hold, I must give back what I have been so freely given."

About Jeff Hamilton (Drums)
Originality is what versatile drummer Jeff Hamilton brings to the groups he performs with and is one of the reasons why he is constantly in demand, whether he is recording or performing with his trio, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, the Clayton Brothers or co-leading the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Jeff's recording, It's Hamilton Time (Lake Street Records), received enormous airplay while reaching #5 on the Gavin national jazz radio chart. His trio's second release, Jeff Hamilton Trio-LIVE! (MONS) was nominated by critics for best jazz recording in Germany in 1997. The trio's second MONS release was entitled, Hands On. Hamilton House-Live at Steamers (MONS) was the trio's 2000 release. As well as recording and performing throughout the world, Jeff also teaches, arranges and composes.

Jeff has received rave reviews for his dynamic drumming. David Badham of Jazz Journal International stated in his review of the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra's release, Heart and Soul (Capri): "This is one of the finest modern big band issues I've heard...This is undoubtedly due to Jeff Hamilton, a most driving and technically accomplished drummer." Jeff is equally at home in smaller formats. He is an integral part of the Clayton Brothers and Herb Wong stated in his review of their release, The Music (Capri), in JazzTimes: "Always evident is...the colorful work of the rhythm section featuring...the sensitivity and sizzle of Jeff Hamilton's seasoned drums." Leonard Feather of the Los Angeles Times described Jeff and his work with Oscar Peterson as "the Los Angeles-based drummer whose intelligent backing and spirited solo work met Peterson's customarily high standards..." In his review of he Ray Brown Trio in the Denver Post, Jeff Bradley stated that Jeff "brought the crowd to its feet with his amazing hand-drumming, soft and understated yet as riveting and rewarding as any drum solo you've heard."

Born in Richmond, Indiana, Jeff grew up listening to his parent's big band records and at the age of eight began playing drums along with Oscar Peterson records. He attended Indiana University and later studied with John Von Ohlen. Jeff was influenced by Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, Mel Lewis, "Philly" Joe Jones and Shelly Manne. In 1974, he got his first big break playing with the New Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. He then joined Lionel Hampton's Band until 1975 when he, along with bassist John Clayton, became members of the Monty Alexander Trio. He attained a childhood goal in 1977 when he joined Woody Herman and the Thundering Herd, with whom he made several recordings. In 1978, he was offered the position vacated by Shelly Manne in the L.A.4 with Ray Brown, Bud Shank and Laurindo Almeida. He recorded six records with the L.A.4, some of which featured his own arrangements and compositions. From 1983 to 1987, Jeff performed with Ella Fitzgerald, the Count Basie Orchestra, Rosemary Clooney and Monty Alexander. Jeff began his association with the Ray Brown Trio in 1988 and left in March 1995 to concentrate on his own trio. From 1999-2001, the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra was named the in-residence ensemble for the Hollywood Bowl Jazz series. The Los Angeles Jazz Society named Jeff and his musical partner, John Clayton, musicians of the year for 2006. A banquet in their honor was held at the Los Angeles Marriott Downtown Hotel. Click here for pictures from the event. Jeff is currently touring with his own Trio, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and Diana Krall.

In addition to his many recordings with Ray Brown, Jeff has been on nearly 200 recordings with artists such as Natalie Cole, Diana Krall, Milt Jackson, Rosemary Clooney, Barbara Streisand, Mel Torme, John Pizzarelli, Benny Carter, Lalo Schifrin, George Shearing, Dr. John, Clark Terry, Gene Harris, Toshiko Akioshi, Scott Hamilton, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Keely Smith, Bill Holman, Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel and Mark Murphy. Jeff is a frequent guest of the WDR Big Band in Cologne, Germany. He also appeared in Natalie Cole's Great Performances PBS special, Unforgettable and an Oscar Peterson documentary, Life In The Key Of Oscar.

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