John Clayton Jazz

The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra

This album was years in the making and it’s a pleasure to present it to you, our listeners. It represents the laughter, thoughts, hours of discussion and experimenting, choking back of tears and just swinging hard for the sake of it, that exists in our band. I think you’ll hear some of the most intensely raw playing that this ensemble has ever done. The music covers the spectrum of colors and emotions from “letting it all hang out” (ok—I’m dating myself) to the more personal and introvertive perspective on the music.

Jeff Hamilton shines—he always does—as a player and composer. But this time he has brought some of his magical “red sparkle,” evidently left over from his pre-teen drum set.

One of my favorite tunes, BUHAINA, BUHAINA, was written by Ray Brown to feature Jeff in Ray’s trio. This definitely has that red sparkle all over it.

One could take a page out of Milt Jackson’s philosophy that if you want to be featured, contribute a tune that let’s you strut your stuff. Our bassist, Jon Hamar, did just that and the result is a wonderfully bass-centric song, THE BARN.

Our treatment of WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD is inspired by the inner conflict that Louis Armstrong had with his hit version. He was called an “Uncle Tom,” a traitor to the black community by singing a song that seemed to ignore the wars, civil rights movement, air pollution and more. His second version of the song included a spoken rebuttal that allowed him to explain what he meant; that was my head-space when I wrote this arrangement.

We dedicate this recording to the memory of my brother, Jeff. It’s our first recording without him. His spirit and musical concepts affect our approach and interpretation of everything we play. It is beautiful and uncanny how his soul remains a loving and permanent dye that colors all that we do.
AND SO IT GOES, originally arranged to feature Jeff, gets a heart-wrenching reading by our lead alto saxophonist, Keith Fiddmont.

Brother Jeff’s composition, THE JONES BROTHERS, features our newest member, alto saxophonist, Jacob Scesney and is full of the kind of fire that my late sibling would embrace.

There’s more. Lots more. I’m proud of each of these musicians and honored to grow and swing with them.

Thanks from your fan,

September 2023


1. See See Rider – Ma Rainey, Universal Music Corp/ASCAP Lena Arant/ASCAP 5:21

2. Thelonious – Thelonious Monk, Thelonious Music Corp/BMI 5:31

3. The Jones Brothers – Jeff Clayton, Claytonomics/ASCAP 7:33

4. And So It Goes – Billy Joel, Joelsongs/ASCAP 6:03

5. The Barn – Jon Hamer, Jon Hamer/BMI – 10:02

6. Haitian Fight Song – Charles Mingus, Flying Red Rhino/BMI 6:23

7. Buhaina, Buhaina – Ray Brown, Ray Brown Music/BMI 6:47

8. What a Wonderful World – Bob Thiele, George David Weiss, Abilene Music Inc./ASCAP, Bienstock Empire Music/ASCAP, Round Hill Songs II/ASCAP 3:17

9. Sybille’s Day – Jeff Hamilton – Hammertone Music/ASCAP 7:44



This album is dedicated to the memory of Jeff Clayton.

A ginormous thanks to the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra members for giving beyond the notes. Thank you, oh wonderful team: Terri & David Harper, Gail Boyd, Njari Sharif, and Shelley Hubbard. Russ Miller, none of this would have happened without you. Your friendship and devotion to us is invaluable. Thank you, Cathy Stone, for graciously continuing the loving support we’ve always received from you and Howard. Heartfelt thanks go out to Frank and Sue Malvezzi for your contribution to help give life to this album.

Produced by John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton

Recorded at Hitkor, LosAngeles, CA June12th and 13th, 2023
Engineered and Mixed by Russ Miller

Mastered by David Donnelly at DNA Mastering
Assistant Engineer – Michael Gorecki
Project coordination – J4U Entertainment, LLC,
Terri L. Harper, David A. Harper
Management – Gail Boyd Artist Management
Equipment manager, librarian -Jessica Ragsdale
Photo credit – Shane O’Donnell Photography
Album Art – Cassidy Douglas for RMI Music Productions Inc.
John Clayton uses Evah Pirastro strings

Jeff Hamilton plays: Mapex drums, Sabian Hammertone Series cymbals,

Innovative Percussion signature sticks and signature brushes, Remo drumheads. Canopus “Jeff Hamilton” cymbal stands,X-Percussion, Jeff Hamilton Signature X – Click accessories.