Gerald Clayton

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Gerald Clayton
Gerald Clayton Official.jpg
Gerald Clayton
Background information
Born (1984-05-11) May 11, 1984 (age 32)
Utrecht, Netherlands
Origin Los Angeles, California, United States
Occupation(s) Artist
Instruments Piano
Labels Concord Records
Verve Records
Associated acts Charles Lloyd
Roy Hargrove
Ambrose Akinmusire
Dianne Reeves
Peter Bernstein
The Clayton Brothers

Gerald William Clayton is a jazz pianist and composer born in Utrecht, Netherlands and raised in Los Angeles.


Gerald Clayton searches for honest expression in every note he plays. With harmonic curiosity and critical awareness, he develops musical narratives that unfold as a result of both deliberate searching and chance uncovering. The four-time Grammy nominated pianist/composer formally began his musical journey at the prestigious Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, where he received the 2002 Presidential Scholar of the Arts Award. Continuing his scholarly pursuits, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Piano Performance at USC’s Thornton School of Music under the instruction of piano icon Billy Childs, after a year of intensive study with NEA Jazz Master, Kenny Barron, at The Manhattan School of Music. Clayton won second place in the 2006 Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Piano Competition.

Expansion has become part of Clayton’s artistic identity. His music is a celebration of the inherent differences in musical perspectives that promote true artistic synergy. Inclusive sensibilities have allowed him to perform and record with such distinctive artists as Roy Hargrove, Dianne Reeves, Ambrose Akinmusire, Diana Krall, Dayna Stephens, Kendrick Scott, Ben Williams, Terell Stafford & Dick Oatts, Michael Rodriguez, Terri Lyne Carrington, Avishai Cohen, and the Clayton Brothers Quintet. Clayton also has enjoyed an extended association since early 2013, touring and recording with saxophone legend, Charles Lloyd. 2016 marks his second year as Musical Director of the Monterey Jazz Festival On Tour, a project that features his trio along with Ravi Coltrane, Nicolas Payton and Raul Midón on guitar and vocals.

Clayton’s discography as a leader reflects his evolution as an artist. His debut recording, Two Shade(ArtistShare), earned a 2010 Grammy nomination in ‘Best Improvised Jazz Solo’ for his arrangement of Cole Porter’s All of You. Battle Circle, his composition featured on The Clayton Brothers’ recording, The New Song and Dance (ArtistShare), received a Grammy nomination for ‘Best Jazz Instrumental Composition’ in 2011. He received 2012 and 2013 Grammy nominations in ‘Best Jazz Instrumental Album,’ for Bond: The Paris Sessions(Concord), and Life Forum(Concord), his second and third album releases.


As leader[edit]

Year Artist Title Label
2013 Gerald Clayton Life Forum Concord Records
2011 Gerald Clayton Bond: The Paris Sessions EmArcy Records
2009 Gerald Clayton Two-Shade ArtistShare

As sideman[edit]

Year Artist Title Label
2015 Matthew Stevens Woodwork Whirlwind Recordings
2013 Terri Lyne Carrington Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue Concord Records
2011 Ambrose Akinmusire When the Heart Emerges Glistening Blue Note Records
2010 Dick Oatts & Terell Stafford Quintet Bridging the Gap Planet Arts
2009 Kendrick Scott Reverence Criss Cross
2009 Melissa Morgan Until I Met You Telarc
2008 Roy Hargrove Earfood EmArcy Records
2006 Diana Krall From This Moment On Verve Records
2006 Diana Krall Christmas Songs Verve Records
2006 Roberta Gambarini Easy to Love Groovin' High/Kindred Rhythm
2005 Laura Welland Dissertation on the State of Bliss Oa2
2004 Teedra Moses Complex Simplicity Tvt
2003 Bobby Rodriguez Trumpet Talk LatinJazz Productions

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."[1] 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."[1]


  1. ^ a b "The Clayton Brothers". December 22, 2008. Retrieved December 4, 2009. 

External links[edit]