“We have assembled a group of people that were like family to Jeff Clayton.
– JOHN CLAYTON
Legendary composer, arranger, and bassist, John Clayton, leads a heartfelt tribute to his younger brother, saxophonist Jeff Clayton. This event is the DeBartolo Performing Art Center’s final Presenting Series jazz offering of the season. The John Clayton & the Friends & Brothers Band assembles for a solo show on Saturday, February 26, at 7:30 p.m.
This month’s Presenting Series concert is the first time John Clayton has performed in a quintet format since his brother succumbed to cancer in December 2020. The band includes Rickey Woodard (tenor sax), Patrick Bartley (alto sax), Justin Kauflin (piano), David Alvarez III (drums), and John Clayton.
“We have assembled a group of people that were like family to Jeff Clayton. Rickey Woodard was his best friend, and they talked endlessly about the saxophone, music, and life. Patrick Bartley met Jeff as a teenager, and at their first lesson, Jeff not only determined that Patrick’s saxophone was unplayable, but he found donors overnight, contributed himself, and purchased a new saxophone for Patrick. Patrick currently plays that instrument. Justin Kauflin received music and life lessons from Jeff, as did David Alvarez III, who was the last drummer to play in the Clayton Brothers before Jeff’s passing,” said John Clayton.
Born in 1955, alto saxophonist and multi-reed instrumentalist Jeff Clayton began his career as a touring and studio musician. Before joining Stevie Wonder’s band, he studied oboe and English horn at California State University, Northridge, for more than three years. He spent three years recording and touring with the famous music giant. Jeff later recorded with Gladys Knight, Kenny Rogers, Michael Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Madonna. Madonna’s Back in Business earned Jeff his Grammy nomination for Best Pop Soloist. In 1977, John and Jeff Clayton founded the Clayton Brothers Quartet, later to become the Clayton Brothers Quintet. He also co-founded the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra with his brother, John.
John Clayton is an award-winning composer, arranger, conductor, producer, and educator. With a Grammy and nine nominations, he has performed with iconic artists Diana Krall, Paul McCartney, Regina Carter, and Dee Dee Bridgewater. He was commissioned by leading ensembles in the U.S. and Europe, including the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, the American Jazz Philharmonic, The Carnegie Hall Big Band, and the Amsterdam Philharmonic.
John serves as the musical director of several renowned jazz festivals, including the Jazz Port Townsend Festival, attracting prominent artists from across the globe at one of the nation’s premier jazz events. He co-founded the Grammy-nominated Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and the Clayton Brothers Quintet, nominated for two Grammy awards. The quintet (John Clayton, Jeff Clayton, Terell Stafford, Gerald Clayton, and Obed Calvaire) cooked up sweet original compositions and reinvented standards as an expression of love of this truly American art form.
Made possible by the Renaldo-Ferguson Family Endowment for the Performing Arts and the Holzgrefe Family Performing Arts Endowment.