Jeff Clayton - Artist in Residence
Our inaugural Artist in Residence in 2015 was Grammy nominated sax, flute and multi-reed instrumentalist Jeff Clayton - he made such an impression on the students at JMA (and they on him) that he was back in 2016 and joins us again in 2018.
Having studied oboe and english horn at California State University, Jeff then spent three years touring and recording with Stevie Wonder. Following this were recordings with Gladys Knight, Michael Jackson, Earth Wind and Fire and Madonna.
Jeff has also toured extensively with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Ella Fitzgerald, Woody Herman, Lionel Hampton, Lena Horn, Ray Charles and the Count Basie Orchestra under the leadership of Thad Jones.
He is a founding member of both the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and the Clayton Brothers Quintet, featuring Terell Stafford on Trumpet. The orchestra has performed with such jazz luminaries as Patty Austin, Kurt Elling, Milt Jackson, Diana Krall, Michael Buble and Benny Carter, to name a few.
Jeff's education experience is also vast, having served at UCLA as Adjunct Professor under Kenny Burrell, at the University of Southern California with Shelly Berg and Dr. Ron McCurdy, as Adjunct Professor at Cal State University Long Beach and Cal State University Los Angeles. Jeff and John Clayton were nominated as Educators of the year 2005 in Jazz Times Magazine.
Even with this incredible list of accomplishments and star-studded colleagues, the most inspiring aspect of Jeff's musical life is still his attitude to learning.
Jeff notes his experience with numerous masters in the jazz world: -
From Thad Jones, who led the Count Basie Orchestra – “I learned the art of rehearsal - how to give musicians the support they needed to create without restrictions. He had a wonderful heart.”
From a life long association with Ray Brown – “I learned about expression, being yourself no matter what and to do what you do best.”
From years in the studio and on stage with Frank Sinatra – “I was shown how to embrace long phrases and how to just state the melody, Frank was a master of melody."
And finally, Jeff’s philosophy towards his music....
“Music is not mine to keep only to have and to hold, I must give back what I have been so freely given……”