John and Jeff Clayton prove conclusively, that while blood may be thicker than water, it can also carry an unimpeded flow of pure creativity. The Clayton Brothers Quartet was originally founded in 1977, and while their paths would sometimes diverge, the brothers continued to share a common musical vision that would draw them back together. Their latest CD, Back In The Swing of Things (Hyena) demonstrates their unique musical vision and swing. That CD as well as Expressions and Siblingity (Qwest) are bristling with surprises, delights and the kind of musical telepathy that could only come from tuned in siblings. The brothers place a strong emphasis on sharing what it is they know. They are dedicated jazz educators. In the fall 2004, The Clayton Brothers were featured on the cover of JazzTimes' Education Resource Guide, naming them jazz educators for the year.
John Clayton served as the Artistic Director of Jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1998 through 2001. A seven time Grammy nominated artist, John gained prominence as a bassist in both the jazz and classical fields. His serious study of the double bass began at age 16 under the tutelage of Ray Brown. He held the principal bass chair in the Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra for more than five years. He is a composer/arranger/conductor, who counts among his mentors Robert Farnon, Count Basie, Johnny Mandel, Henry Mancini, and Quincy Jones. He has written and arranged music for Milt Jackson, Nancy Wilson, Ray Brown, Regina Carter, McCoy Tyner, Carmen McRae, Quincy Jones, Diana Krall, Kurt Elling Dee Dee Bridgewater (including her Grammy award winning CD, Dear Ella (Verve), Gladys Knight, Natalie Cole, and many others.
Reed player, Jeff Clayton began his career as both a touring and studio musician. He recorded important albums with, among others, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Kenny Rodgers, Michael Jackson, Patti Labelle, Earth Wind & Fire, and solo on Madonna's Recording 'Black in Business'. As a jazz musician, he has worked with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Ella Fitzgerald, Woody Harmon, Lionel Hampton, Lena Horne, McCoy Toner, and Dee Dee Bridgewater.
Currently, the quintet consists of John's son, Gerald Clayton on piano (Second Place Winner of the Thelonious Monk Competition) and Obed Calvaire on drums. Terell Stafford, a highly regarded trumpeter and band leader in his own right, is also a member of the quintet.