November 6, 2012
"John Clayton is one of the most technically imposing bassists in jazz...
Jeff maintains a sweet, preaching delivery;
the Adderley influence runs deep in him." - The New York Times
siblings on the planet." - NPR "JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater"
November 6, 2012
A new Clayton Brothers release is always a family affair - not only due to the actual blood ties of siblings John and Jeff Clayton and son/nephew Gerald, but in the sense that quintet-mates Terell Stafford and Obed Calvaire have become part of the Claytons' extended musical family through years of touring and recording.
On their new ArtistShare release, The Gathering, that family extends even further with the addition of trombone great Wycliffe Gordon and vibraphone wizard Stefon Harris. "We realized that we've got so many friends in the business that we like playing with," says John. "Wouldn't it be fun if we could pair up with a couple of them and create this new Clayton Brothers sound?"
Using various configurations of this expanded line-up, the Claytons take full advantage of the new sonic and harmonic possibilities granted to them, while staying firmly rooted in the classic Clayton Brothers sound. Raucous hard bop, tender ballads, deep blues and soul-stirring funk all combine to create a typically wide-ranging and moving - in more ways than one - experience.
After decades playing with virtually every seasoned legend and young lion in jazz, it's safe to say that the Claytons had their pick of collaborators for The Gathering. They chose to invite Gordon and Harris due to the very specific dimensions they could add to the Brothers' established sound. "We wanted both bluesy and edgy, and we get that from both of these guys, individually and collectively," John says. "Wycliffe Gordon plays serious blues like other people can't play. With Stefon, you can feel the roots, but you can hear the progress. You can hear the tomorrow."
"We do a lot of things but we don't necessarily have that New Orleans feel in our band," continues Jeff. "Wycliffe is definitely from the Louis Armstrong era and forward to more modern things. And Stefon pushes the envelope. His group Blackout plays some very cutting edge music, so he brings this edge that we get to try to be a part of."
The celebratory nature of The Gathering is represented by two aptly-named, rollicking new pieces, John's swaggering "Friday Struttin'" and Jeff's boisterous "This Ain't Nothing But a Party," written in the Les McCann/Eddie Harris tradition.