Jazz pianist Gerald Clayton is an adept, Grammy Award-winning improviser and composer with a bent toward post-bop and straight-ahead jazz. The son of bassist/bandleader John Clayton, Gerald was born in the Netherlands but grew up in California. Interested in music from a young age, Clayton began studying piano at age seven and eventually graduated from the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, after which he earned a music degree from the USC Thornton School of Music. In 2006, Clayton took second place in the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Piano Competition. Based out of New York City, Clayton has performed with a bevy of name musicians including trumpeter Roy Hargrove and pianist/vocalist Diana Krall, as well as his father's Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and the Clayton Brothers trio. He has received several Grammy nods, including a nomination for Best Instrumental Composition for the song "Battle Circle" on the Clayton Brothers album New Song and Dance.
Clayton released his debut solo album, Two-Shade, in 2009, which garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Improvised Jazz Solo for his take on Cole Porter's "All of You." In 2011 he delivered his sophomore album, Bond: The Paris Sessions. That same year, he appeared on trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire's sophomore album, When the Heart Emerges Glistening. Akinmusire then returned the favor, appearing on Clayton's third solo album and first for Concord Records, Life Forum. An ambitious all-star recording, the album earned Clayton yet another Grammy Award nomination, this time for Best Jazz Instrumental Album. In 2017 he made the move to Motéma Music for Tributary Tales, which featured contributions from saxophonists Logan Richardson, Ben Wendel, and Dayna Stephens, as well as vocalist Sachal Vasandani and poets Carl Hancock Rux and Aja Monet. Away from his solo work, the pianist has stayed busy making appearances on albums by Terri Lyne Carrington, Peter Bernstein, Avishai Cohen, and others. ~ Matt Collar