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A remarkable player, he seems to understand what our ear wants—blooming harmony, melodic improvisations, firm landings—and how to deliver it.
—New York Times
Gerald Clayton searches for honest expression in every note he plays. With harmonic curiosity and critical awareness, he develops musical narratives that unfold as a result of both deliberate searching and chance uncovering.
The four-time Grammy-nominated pianist/composer formally began his musical journey at the prestigious Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, where he received the 2002 Presidential Scholar of the Arts Award. Continuing his scholarly pursuits, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Piano Performance at University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music under the instruction of piano icon Billy Childs, after a year of intensive study with NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron at the Manhattan School of Music. Clayton won second place in the 2006 Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Piano Competition.
Expansion has become part of Clayton’s artistic identity. His music is a celebration of the inherent differences in musical perspectives that promote true artistic synergy. Inclusive sensibilities have allowed him to perform and record with such distinguished artists as Diana Krall, Roy Hargrove, Dianne Reeves, Ambrose Akinmusire, Dayna Stephens, Kendrick Scott, John Scofield, Ben Williams, Terell Stafford and Dick Oatts, Michael Rodriguez, Terri Lyne Carrington, Avishai Cohen, Peter Bernstein, and the Clayton Brothers Quintet. Clayton also has enjoyed an extended association since early 2013, touring and recording with saxophone legend Charles Lloyd.