June 23rd, Max at Eastman Place, 6:15 & 10:00 pm
It is possible that I won't go hear Gerald Clayton when he plays with his Trio at Max on the 23rd, but only because I've seen him several times this year, both at concerts in the great Exodus to Jazz. In the intimate setting of Max, this Trio will be a real treat.
Born in the Netherlands in 1984, Clayton grew up mostly in Los Angeles in a family of musicians including his father, bassist/composer John Clayton, and uncle, saxophonist Jeff Clayton. As professional jazz musician, he has performed with some of the most established names in Jazz such as Lewis Nash, Al Foster, Terrell Stafford and Clark Terry, including duo piano concerts with artists as diverse as Hank Jones, Benny Green, Kenny Barron, Mulgrew Miller and Tamir Hendelman, with whom he "dueled" on piano here in January of this year for Exodus to Jazz in a benefit for the Museum of Kids Art. He has also played with a number of the next generation of jazz innovators such as Ambrose Akinmusire, Dayna Stephens, and Kendrick Scott. From 2006-2008, Clayton toured extensively with Roy Hargrove in his quintet, big band, and funk groups and is currently a member of the Clayton Brothers Quintet. Clayton received a Grammy nomination this year for his CD Bond: The Paris Sessions (affiliate link) in the top category of Best Instrumental Jazz Album. Clayton has also been nominated this year for a Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition for his composition Battle Circle from the New Song and Dance album with the Clayton Brothers, which itself had been nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental Album.
Clayton's playing and his trio has a sound that, while steeped well in the tradition, also has a more modern edge, alternatively introspective and powerful. To give you a taste, here's a video of the Trio playing at the Harker Concert Series (in fact, it's over 30 minutes of the set):
Here is the Trio playing Dizzy Gillespie's Con Alma in May:
And playing last month at Smalls in the Village in February 2009: