"At a time when jazz piano prodigies are moving into the spotlight around the world… Clayton is showing all the signs of becoming one of the most significant young jazz artists to emerge in the Southland in recent years.” – LA Times
Well, he is not a regional attraction anymore! Now a resident of Brooklyn New York and already a veteran of the club and festival circuit, Clayton has made good his promise. Gerald Clayton was born in 1984 in Utrecht, The Netherlands, into an intensely musical family. He is the son of bassist/composer John Clayton and nephew of saxophonist Jeff Clayton. The family moved back to the US when Gerald was young and settled in Los Angeles where he received a Bachelor's of Music from the Jazz Studies program at USC in 2006. Gerald studied classical piano and jazz piano and took composition with Shelley Berg, Kenny Barron and Billy Childs.
Clayton won numerous awards as a student, among them, selection for the Grammy High School Big Band. In the summer of 2002, he was named Presidential Scholar in the Arts and performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. That same year, he received the Shelley Manne Award for emerging young artists. In 2006, he took Second Place in the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Piano Competition.
In 2005 Gerald joined noted pianists Benny Green, Mulgrew Miller and Kenny Barron for a series of duo concerts in Europe and performed with trumpeter Clark Terry in Switzerland. He has appeared at the Playboy, Umbria and Detroit Jazz Festivals, at the Village Vanguard with the Lewis Nash Quintet, at Birdland, and at Disney Hall. He appeared with the Henry Mancini Orchestra at Royce Hall and has toured extensively with trumpeter Roy Hargrove and performed with Hargrove’s quintet in Brazil.
Gerald Clayton can be heard on Back in the Swing of Things, by The Clayton Brothers as well as on several tracks of Diana Krall's recording From This Moment On. This year he was nominated for a Grammy for Best Improvised Jazz Solo, for "All of You" from his album Two-Shade and also appeared on the Grammy- nominated Clayton Brother’s album, Brother to Brother.
The Gerald Clayton Trio, with Gerald Clayton on piano, Joe Sanders on bass and Justin Brown on drums is making its first appearance at the Litchfield Jazz Festival.