Gerald Clayton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Gerald Clayton
Gerald Clayton.jpg
Gerald Clayton
Background information
Born (1984-05-11) May 11, 1984 (age 31)
Utrecht, Netherlands
Origin Southern California, United States
Genres Mainstream jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Piano
Labels ArtistShare
Associated acts Gerald Clayton Trio
Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra
The Clayton Brothers
Diana Krall
Roberta Gambarini Quartet

Gerald William Clayton is a jazz pianist and composer born in Utrecht, Netherlands, and raised in Southern California. He is the son of bassist/bandleader John Clayton and the nephew of multi-instrumentalist wind player Jeff Clayton.


Gerald Clayton studied classical piano with Linda Buck for eleven years, starting at the age of seven,[1] and jazz piano and composition with Donald Vega, Shelly Berg, Kenny Barron and Billy Childs. He graduated from Los Angeles County High School for the Arts in 2002. At graduation, he was selected by the Music for Youth Foundation as one of four young musicians to receive a scholarship and perform at Steinway Hall.[2] In September 2002, he received the Shelly Manne Award for emerging young artists from the Los Angeles Jazz Society.[3] In 2006, he received the Bachelor of Arts degree through the Jazz Studies program at USC Thornton School of Music; a program that included his father as senior lecturer. He took second place in the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Piano Competition.[4][5] In the winter of 2006–2007, Gerald Clayton moved to New York City where he currently[when?] resides.


Gerald Clayton reports that his influences include Oscar Peterson, Monty Alexander, Benny Green and Ray Brown. His most important musical influence is his father, John Clayton.

Major appearances[edit]

Gerald Clayton currently tours with The Clayton Brothers and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. He leads the various permutations of the Gerald Clayton Trio, including the addition of extra players and the accompaniment of jazz vocalists. He has performed in a duo with his father, John Clayton. He appears regularly at the Jazz Gallery in New York, where his own compositions are presented. He has taken part in several world tours with the Roy Hargrove Quintet.

  • November 14, 2005 Gold Room of the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. "Handful of Keys" with Robert Edward Thies[6]
  • Summer 2006 world tour with the Roy Hargrove Quintet
  • January 13, 2007 Jazz Gallery Composers Series. Gerald Clayton Trio with David Wong on bass, Pete Van Ostrand on drums and Roy Hargrove joining on trumpet[7]
  • January 12, 2007 IAJE 2007 NEA Jazz Masters Awards Concert, The Clayton Brothers Quintet.
  • April 11, 2007 Gerald Clayton Trio with Melissa Morgan at Steamers[8]
  • July 27, 2007 Roy Hargrove Quintet at Centrum
  • Summer/Fall 2007 world tour with Roy Hargrove Quintet
  • September 28, 2007 Gerald Clayton Composers Series at The Jazz Gallery
  • November 9, 2007 Gerald Clayton Trio at Kennedy Center
  • February 1, 2008 Gerald Clayton & Yosvany Terry. Composers Series Part II at The Jazz Gallery
  • February 14, 2008 through February 17 Newport Beach Jazz Festival
  • February 21–22, 2008 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival at University of Idaho
  • May 8, 2009 opening concert of the Klavierfestival Ruhr at Bochum, Germany
  • July 9, 2011 Clayton performed with his Gerald Clayton trio at the North Sea Jazz Festival at Rotterdam in The Netherlands
  • 2013 several dates with Charles Lloyd in the U.S., Turkey, and Poland

Fan-funded debut as a leader[edit]

The fan-funded ArtistShare platform was used for Clayton's discographic debut as a leader, releasing[9] the trio album Two-Shade.[10]

Grammy nomination[edit]

In 2010, Gerald Clayton was nominated for a Grammy for 'Best Instrumental Composition' for "Battle Circle", which is featured on the also Grammy nominated Clayton Brothers album, New Song and Dance. In December 2009, Clayton was nominated for Best Improvised Jazz Solo, for his solo on Cole Porter's "All of You" from Clayton's Two-Shade album. His nomination was one in a pool of much more established jazz stars such as Terence Blanchard and Roy Hargrove, with whom Clayton toured for several years.

Additionally, The Clayton Brothers' Brother To Brother received a Grammy nomination in the Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group category. Gerald Clayton plays piano on the album, which holds loosely to a theme of songs that were originally made famous by earlier musical groups of brothers such as Thad, Hank and Elvin Jones. Clayton's piano playing was described by Ben Ratliff of The New York Times as "[filling] up the available space" with Clayton "busying himself with prettiness and authority."[11] Ratliff continued, "If you've listened to much hard bop or mainstream jazz of the early '60s, you might find some easygoing clichés in his playing – or maybe even an awful lot of them – but they are smoothly rendered. More important, the friendly rhetoric of this music allows them."[11]


As leader/co-leader[edit]

  • Life Forum (2013)
  • The Gathering – The Clayton Brothers (2012)
  • Bond: The Paris Sessions (2011)
  • Two-Shade (2009)
  • Brother to Brother – The Clayton Brothers (2008)
  • Back In The Swing Of Things – Clayton Brothers (2005)

As sideman[edit]


  1. ^ "Listen Up!: Gerald Clayton interview" (PDF). All About Jazz. New York. March 2006. p. 12. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 7, 2008. 
  2. ^ "Music for Youth Foundation Chooses 4 Most Outstanding High School Musicians and Awards $90,000 in Special Concert at Steinway Hall" (PDF). 
  3. ^ "Gerald Clayton bio". Vail Jazz. Retrieved March 10, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Competition - past winners and judges". Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. Retrieved March 10, 2008. 
  5. ^ eJazzNews press release Retrieved March 10, 2008.[dead link]
  6. ^ "Clazzical Notes: Handful of Keys". Pasadena Symphony. Retrieved March 10, 2008. 
  7. ^ Ben Ratliff (January 15, 2007). "A Pianist With a Soft Touch, Except When It Becomes Grand". The New York Times. Retrieved March 10, 2008. 
  8. ^ "LA Beat: Melissa Morgan With the Gerald Clayton Trio at Steamers". May 13, 2007. Retrieved March 10, 2008. 
  9. ^ "Gerald Clayton's Two Shade Released!". All About Jazz News. July 14, 2009. Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  10. ^ "ArtistShare project page". Archived from the original on October 9, 2009. Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  11. ^ a b "The Clayton Brothers". December 22, 2008. Retrieved December 4, 2009. 

External links[edit]