It's taken me all my life to learn what not to play. -- Dizzie Gillespie

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Jazz Birhtdays - August 20

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John Clayton - 1952

A multi-talented musician, John Clayton deserves much more recognition. A brilliant bassist whose bowed solos are exquisite, Clayton is also a top-notch arranger and composer. A protégé of Ray Brown (whom he recorded with on a couple of occasions, including a late-'90s collaboration with fellow bassist Christian McBride), Clayton picked up important early experience playing with Count Basie's Orchestra for two years. He has co-led the Clayton Brothers with his younger brother, altoist Jeff, off and on since 1977, and in 1985 put together the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, along with Jeff Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton. Clayton's charts for the big band, which are sometimes a little reminiscent of Thad Jones, give it its own musical personality. John Clayton has also worked extensively as a freelance bassist and arranger.
He currently serves as Artistic Director for the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival,[1] Sarasota Jazz Festival, Santa Fe Jazz Party, Jazz Port Townsend Summer Workshop,[2] and Vail Jazz Workshop. He also teaches at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and presides as president over the 1,500 member International Bassists Society (IBS).

He has composed and/or arranged for such notable artists as The Count Basie Orchestra, Diana Krall, Whitney Houston, Carmen McRae, Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, Ernestine Anderson, Quincy Jones, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Natalie Cole, and The Tonight Show Band.

His son, Gerald Clayton, is an accomplished jazz pianist, placing second in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition in 2006.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 18 August 2015 16:14

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