Big band music with a few vocal highlights. That’s the essence of The L.A. Treasures Project by the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra (Capri Records, 2014).

Led by John Clayton, Jeff Clayton and Jeff Hamilton, this ensemble keeps the hits coming. The trumpets are Bijon Watson, Gilbert Castellanos, James Ford, Brian Swartz and Jamie Hovorka. The trombones are Isa Nepus, George Bohanon, Ryan Porter and Maurice Spears. The saxes and woodwinds are Jeff Clayton, Keith Fiddmont, Rickey Woodard, Charles Owens and Lee Callet. The rest of the band are Jeff Hamilton, drums; Tamir Hendelman, piano; Christoph Luty, bass; Graham Dechter, guitar; and John Clayton, bass.

Early in 2013, vocalists Barbara Morrison and Ernie Andrews were asked to sing during a few rehearsals. That led to a September 15th performance at in the showroom of Alvas Music Store in San Pedro, California, with a live audience. Morrison and Andrew lead four songs apiece.

The set opens with the swinging “I Love Being Here with You.” All four trombonists deliver spirited solos in this brassy, finger-snapping tune. The trumpets and saxophones get their chops in as well.

“Got to Get Back to L.A.” features Morrison. Accented by the horns, Morrison brings passion and sass, advising the listener to get out of her way. The full orchestra is engaged during the middle break, punctuated by Jeff Hamilton’s tom rolls. Morrison is even more emphatic when she resumes, setting up the song’s dazzling finale.

Andrews takes point on the standard, “Beautiful Friendship.” Though the orchestra is mostly featured in its entirety, there are a few moments when individuals shine. Hendelman’s solo is one such highlight. Andrews sings of a pair who’ve known each other as sister and brother but then, as fate would have it, they looked at each other and fell in love. Though he sings it’s the end of friendship, there’s clearly no regret as he celebrates the transformation into romance.

The orchestra performs five tracks without vocals, shining the spotlight on some of the individuals, including Dechter, Jeff Clayton, Hamilton, Luty, Woodard and Owens.

The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra has been thrilling audiences for three decades. The L.A. Treasures Project reiterates the group’s place as one of today’s engaging, invigorating ensembles.