Gerald Clayton

Gerald Clayton

With just 25 years the pianist Gerald Clayton formulated a postulate that was never easy to implement in the hundred-year history of jazz into action: "Tradition and innovation can peacefully coexist." In music archives and to patiently paper this perhaps may be true, but when Gerald Clayton puts himself at his piano, then this coexistence of tradition and innovation seems to be anything as peaceful, but all the more exciting.

FOr its dynamics as was the young pianist, who has won several awards in its short career, already praised enthusiastically in the Jazz Times and the Los Angeles Times. The New York Times praised his "Oscar Peterson-like style" and his "immensely formidable presence". The readers of the American jazz magazine Downbeat took Clayton at the 2008 annual Reader's Poll in the list of promising piano talents, one should keep in mind necessarily. Moreover, Clayton caught as a composer already some attention: for example, with works that he composed on behalf of the New York Jazz Gallery or have been listed by the BBC Orchestra in the UK. From the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts (NFAA), he was awarded a Level 1 Award, chosen by its Music Academy 2002 "Presidential Scholar in the Arts" and finished the renowned throughout the world Jazz Piano Competition of the Thelonious Monk Institute he in 2006 behind the Armenians Tigran Hamasyan second place.

Although Gerald Clayton, who grew up in the lap of a highly musical family, at an early age revealed his pianistic talent, he was none of the usual prodigies who are early pushed into the spotlight. His father, the jazz bassist and big band leader John Clayton, FIVE years held a position as the first bass player with the Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, came in 1984 in the Dutch city of Utrecht Gerald born. Even Gerald saxophone-playing uncle Jeff is not unknown in the jazz world. After completing his engagements in Amsterdam John Clayton and his family went back to the US and settled in Los Angeles, where he met the drummer Jeff Hamilton, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra founded and between 1999 and 2001 as artistic Jazz director for the Los Angeles Philharmonic worked. In the age of six Gerald began eleven years classical piano studies with Linda Buck and then matriculated at University of Southern California in Los Angeles in order to study jazz. the extensive musical training eventually was rounded at the Manhattan School of Music, at the Gerald Clayton Shelly Berg, Billy Childs and Kenny Barron piano and studied composition.

In his young career Clayton entered the US and international public so far on already on the side of such an established jazz greats such as Lewis Nash, Al Foster, Terrell Stafford and Clark Terry. In duo-piano concerts he was also already be heard with such luminaries as Hank Jones, Benny Green, Kenny Barron, Mulgrew Miller and Tamir Hendelman. But also with innovators of the younger generation - such as trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, saxophonist Dayna Stephens or drummer Kendrick Scott - plays the 25 year old pianist together often. Between 2006-2008 Gerald Clayton toured extensively with trumpeter Roy Hargrove - both as a member of his quintet and his big band and with the NuSoul / Funk / Jazz band RH Factor. He is currently also a member of the Clayton Brothers Quintet. In his discography pianist has now Recordings of the Clayton Brothers ( "Back In The Swing Of Things" / 2005 "Brother To Brother" / 2008), Diana Krall ( "Christmas Songs" / 2005 and "From This Moment On" / 2006), Roberta Gambarini ( "Easy to Love" / 2006 and "So In Love" / 2009), Michael Buble ( "Call Me Irresponsible" / 2007), Roy Hargrove ( "Earfood" / 2008 and "Emergence" / 2009) and newcomer Melissa Morgan ( "Until I Met You" / 2009) on.

But his own musical ideas can of course be best achieved with his New York trio of pianist. Together with bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Justin Brown tries to find the previously mentioned balance between tradition and innovation here. During a tour through Europe and the US critics hailed the trio that he was able to bring his "deconstructivist aesthetics" with a "pronounced swing factor" under one roof. Following the tour Clayton went with Sanders and Brown to the studio to record his debut album "Two-Shade" fOr EmArcy. Then presented the young pianist next ten profiled own compositions and arrangements of two jazz standards from Cole Porter's classic "All Of You" and Dizzy Gillespie's "Con Alma".

"I have small different in a lot of musical styles heard," said Gerald Clayton his artistic openness. "Even today I absorb different influences and trying to find my own voice, by I. All these forces into a harmonious whole bundle I try the different styles and sounds that I like, so to mix that comes out a balanced, tasteful musical language. "

And "Two-Shade" is a first indication that Gerald Clayton is already well on the way to achieve this goal.

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