Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra to headline 2015 Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival

The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra will headline the final night of the 12th annual Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival, which will be held next year on Friday, March 20 and Saturday, March 21 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

Led by drummer Jeff Hamilton, bassist John Clayton and his brother, saxophonist Jeff Clayton, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra (pictured) was formed in 1985. They've released six CDs, the most recent of which is 2005's Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra Live At MCG. Local jazz fans also may remember that John and Jeff Clayton performed here as The Clayton Brothers in 2010 at Jazz at the Bistro and in 2011 at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

The GSLJF's Friday night concert will feature a band assembled especially for the occasion, fronted by saxophonist "Blue" Lou Marini, known for his work with the Blues Brothers, Blood Sweat & Tears, and the Saturday Night Live house band; trombonist Steve Wiest, a Grammy nominated composer/arranger and faculty member at the University of Denver; and Clay Jenkins, lead trumpeter for top big bands including Stan Kenton and the Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra and professor at Eastman School of Music.

They'll be accompanied by a rhythm section comprised of two locals, drummer Montez Coleman and pianist Ken Kehner, plus bassist and jazz educator Lou Fischer.

The GSLJF also includes three days of educational activities, as student bands from Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Tennessee and Texas will participate in adjudicated performances and clinics, which include one-on-one sessions and critiques from visiting professionals.

In a couple of notable differences from past festivals, the March dates for the 2015 GSLJF are nearly a month earlier than when the event has been held in years past, during the third weekend in April. Also, the 2015 festival apparently will not include a Thursday night show at Jazz at the Bistro, which has been part of the event in recent years.

Both public concerts will start start at 8:00 p.m. and will feature the UMSL Jazz Ensemble, directed by Jim Widner, as opening act. The ticket on-sale date and prices will be announced in January.

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