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Clayton Brothers Jazz Quintet is coming to S.L.

By Jeff Metcalf

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Oct. 12 2013 3:15 p.m. MDT

The Grammy-nominated Clayton Brothers Quintet will be performing a concert at the Rose Wagner Theatre on Monday, Oct. 14, at 7:30 p.m. as part of the 2013-14 Jazz Salt Lake City concert series. Joining bassist and director John Clayton will be his brother, saxophonist Jeff Clayton, trumpeter Terell Stafford, pianist Gerald Clayton and drummer Obed Calvaire.

Gordon Hanks, founder of the series, said he is thrilled to have landed the quintet for this year’s series. “When we found an opening in our lineup that just so happened to work out with theirs, we immediately booked the quintet. It’s always one of our best concerts when they come to town.”

John and Jeff Clayton began their career in the late 1970s working as an ensemble group along with Ron Eschete on guitar, Jeff Hamilton on drums and Patrice Rushin on the piano. Prior to the brothers forming their first ensemble, John’s resume looked like a who’s who of the jazz world.

At 16, John Clayton enrolled in a class taught by bassist Ray Brown. Meeting Brown changed the trajectory of Clayton’s career, shaping his sense of composition and his exploration of the form, and it soon made him a much sought after conductor and musician. Before forming the quintet, John and Jeff Clayton pursued their own careers, and it wasn’t until the mid-1980s that they seriously began to work together in the quintet format.

The most recent member of the quintet is John’s son, Gerald Clayton, on piano. The young performer has earned his way onto the stage, garnering three Grammy nominations.

“This concert is going to be one of the great treats of the season,” Hanks said. “If you love mainstream jazz, there is not a tighter quintet on the circuit. These guys know how to complement each other and serve the music.”

One would expect the three Claytons to be a concise and cohesive driving force in the quintet, but the pureness of sound would not be as rich without the contributions of drummer Obed Calvaire and trumpeter Terell Stafford. Calvaire and Stafford, equally talented with a host of accolades to their names, bring a depth of interpretation and composition to the quintet that is a perfect complement to the Clayton brothers.

Together, this mix of jazz musicians makes a near perfect quintet. This resulting chemistry offers the listener standard interpretations and original compositions of mainstream jazz that are crisp and clean.

Patrons can expect some fire from Stafford who will alternate between the trumpet and the flugelhorn, smoke from Jeff Clayton’s wielding of the alto sax and alto flute, Calvaire’s marriage of the Latin music and classic jazz drumming, John Clayton’s anchored and centered bass beat, and the slightly contained ivories of young Gerald. Expect to be surprised because on any given concert night, the musical conversation can swing from mainstream to rearrangements of soul and Latin influences.

If you go:

When: Monday, Oct. 14, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Rose Wagner Theatre, 136 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City

Tickets: ($24.50 adults/$10 students with activity card) Call ArtTix at 801-355-ARTS

Jeff Metcalf is a professor of English at the University of Utah and an avid jazz fan.

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