Jeff Clayton Day

February 16, 1954 – December 17, 2020

A tribute to the swinging altoist

Alto-saxophonist Jeff Clayton was born on February 16, 1954 in Venice, California.

Clayton learned alto and flute, studying oboe in college.

He gained experience playing his reeds with Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Michael Jackson, Patti Labelle and Madonna among others, also working with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, and Lena Horne.

Clayton played jazz with Ella Fitzgerald, Woody Herman, Lionel Hampton and the Count Basie Orchestra (when it was led by Thad Jones) before becoming a co-leader (along with his brother bassist John Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton) of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.

The altoist, whose sound and style are inspired most by Cannonball Adderley, is best known for his work with the big band and as a co-leader of the Clayton Brothers.

In this instructional video, Jeff Clayton discusses how to put together a jazz solo.

-Scott Yanow


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