Jazz has had some great brother acts over the years, including the Adderleys, the Heaths, and the Joneses (Hank, Thad, and Elvin); these days twins Marcus and E.J. Strickland are playing together in New York, and various Marsalises reunite from time to time. Based in LA, the Clayton brothers may not get a lot of attention from the east-coast-centric jazz press, but they do lead one sparkling, high-powered quintet. Out in front, reedist Jeff Clayton combines a potent, throaty alto style–most familiar to Chicago listeners from his playing on Kurt Elling’s 2001 album Flirting With Twilight–with a gentler but equally expansive spirit when he switches to flute. Directing the band from behind, his brother John, a Ray Brown protege, displays intonation and technique (shaped by five years as principal bassist with the Amsterdam Philharmonic) that regularly inspire awe among his colleagues. The Clayton Brothers band was a sporadically working quartet from its beginnings in 1977 until 2000, when they signaled a seeming new level of seriousness by adding Terell Stafford to the mix. Trained as a classical trumpeter, Stafford embraced jazz in college, and he’s since developed into an often ferocious and largely captivating improviser, as evidenced on his own several discs–including New Beginnings, his first for the Maxjazz label, released last month. Continuing the infusion of Gen-X all-stars, the Claytons will also feature (at least for this engagement) the well-regarded pianist Eric Reed, a veteran of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra whose stylistic range is apparent in such albums as Manhattan Melodies, a 1999 collection of New York-themed originals and rock and jazz covers, and the newly released Mercy and Grace (Nagel Heyer), a solo record of spirituals. Thursday, July 3, 8 and 10 PM, Friday and Saturday, July 4 and 5, 9 and 11 PM, and Sunday, July 6, 4, 8, and 10 PM, Jazz Showcase, 59 W. Grand; 312-670-2473.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Photographer.