The L.A. Treasures Project (Live At The Alvas Showroom) [TrackList follows] – Barbara Morrison /Ernie Andrews/ The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra – Capri Records 74132-2, 63:47 ****:
(The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra; Barbara Morrison – vocals; Ernie Andrews – vocals)
The word treasure as it relates to a person is defined as follows: “a person who is greatly loved or valued”. If this doesn’t apply to both Barbara Morrison and Ernie Andrews, it’s hard to imagine what does. Broadening that definition somewhat to include: “something that is very special, important” the CJHO clearly falls into that category. Combining the two, the result is a recorded document that does not disappoint and in itself becomes a treasure.
The program is a potpourri of good sounds developed either by the band swinging on their own imaginative charts or supporting the vocalists with charm and conviction. As the band leads off with “I Love Being Here With You” the trombone section makes its own statement with each member taking a solo spotlight in this energetic number. Singers Barbara Morrison and Ernie Andrews have been stalwarts of the LA music scene for many years and are perfect examples of individuals devoted to their craft. Their vocal contributions to this project are faultless, starting with Morrison’s reinvigorated interpretation of “Exactly Like You” and Andrews blues reading of “The Jug And I”. The CHJO has a formidable rhythm section with drummer Jeff Hamilton, pianist Tamir Hendelman and bassist John Clayton, and all three are in the forefront on the composition “Hat’s Dance” which is a tidy swinger.
The ability to take a well-worn standard such as “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You” and give it a fresh coat of paint, is what Andrews does with alluring ease on this track. This is followed by Morrison with her own tune “Got To Get Back To L.A.” in which she finds a solid spirited bluesy groove. While the purpose of the album was to give the two principal vocalists prime time, this high-powered band still has plenty of space in which to show its muscle and it does so with glee. Charles Mingus’ ode to Lester Young “Goodbye Porkpie Hat” get a warm scoring with an alto flute solo from Jeff Clayton while bassist John Clayton runs though the melody with his arco bowing. The band comes roaring out of the gate with “I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But The Blues” with guitarist Graham Dechter mining the blues with profuse technique.
Sometimes good ideas produce bad results. In this case a good idea provided spectacular results.
TrackList: I Love Being Here With You; Exactly Like You; The Jug And I; Hat’s Dance; I’m Getting Sentimental Over You; Got To Get Back To L.A.; Goodbye Porkpie Hat; River’s Invitation; Beautiful Friendship; I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But The Blues; Time After Time; Fever; Jazz Party