Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Clayton, John

Clayton, John, bass, bandleader, composer (b. Los Angeles, August 20, 1952). An outstanding bassist, composer and arranger, Clayton has worked and recorded with an astounding collection of jazz and pop musicians, including Diana Krall, Count Basie, Benny Carter, Rosemary Clooney, Monty Alexander, Ray Brown and Christian McBride. On bass, Clayton exhibits a beautiful tone, fine swing and exemplary arco technique. His primary influences as a bassist include Ray Brown (whose bass Clayton now plays), Milt Hinton, Paul Chambers, Israel Crosby, Slam Stewart, Major Holley, Ron Carter and Scott LaFaro. As a composer, his influences are Duke Ellington, Thad Jones, Oliver Nelson, Quincy Jones and Gil Evans. Clayton began studying bass at age 10, played on the TV series, The Mancini Generation at 19, and graduated from Indiana University at 23. Currently, he co-leads the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra with Jeff Hamilton and the Clayton Brothers Quintet with his brother, Jeff Clayton. He is in constant demand as an arranger for big bands and symphony orchestras, and has been commissioned by the Carnegie Hall Big Band, the WDR and Metropole Orchestras. He is the artistic director for the Vail (Colorado) Jazz Workshop and the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival. His website is www.johnclaytonjazz.com

. Contributor: Thomas Cunniffe