Jeff Clayton

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From left: Spike Robinson, Jeff Clayton, Fraser MacPherson, Ken Peplowski at Otter Crest, Oregon in May 1989. Photo courtesy of the Fraser MacPherson estate.

Jeff Clayton (February 16, 1954 – December 16, 2020) was an American jazz alto saxophonist and flautist.

Clayton studied oboe at California State University before dropping out to undertake a tour with Stevie Wonder.[1] Following this he recorded with Gladys Knight, Kenny Rogers, Michael Jackson, Patti LaBelle, and Madonna.[1] With his brother John Clayton he founded The Clayton Brothers in 1977, and later formed the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra with Jeff Hamilton.[1]

He worked with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Ella Fitzgerald, Woody Herman, Lionel Hampton, Ethan Smith, and Lena Horne, and played in the Count Basie Orchestra while under the leadership of Thad Jones.[1] From 1989 to 1991 he was a member of the Philip Morris Superband.[1] He also toured with Gene Harris, Dianne Reeves, Joe Cocker, B.B. King, and Ray Charles.

Clayton died on December 16, 2020, after suffering from kidney cancer.[2] He was 66 years old.

Awards and recognition[edit]

In December 2009, Brother to Brother by The Clayton Brothers received a Grammy Award nomination in the Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group category.


  • Boogie-Down, Ernestine Anderson and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, 1989
  • Groove Shop, Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, 1989
  • Heart and Soul, Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, 1991
  • Music, The Clayton Brothers, 1991
  • Absolutely, Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, 1995
  • Expressions, The Clayton Brothers, 1997
  • Explosive!, Milt Jackson and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, 1999
  • Siblingity, The Clayton Brothers, 2000
  • Back in the Swing of Things, The Clayton Brothers, 2005
  • Christmas Songs, Diana Krall and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, 2005
  • Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra: Live at MCG, 2005
  • Flirting With Twilight, Kurt Elling, 2001


  1. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (1993). The Guinness Who's Who of Soul Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 47. ISBN 0-85112-733-9.
  2. ^ West, Michael J. "Jeff Clayton 1955–2020". Retrieved July 1, 2021.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]