Jay Clayton

Internationally known jazz vocalist Jay Clayton is highly acclaimed for her perceptive jazz improvisations and vocal explorations. In 1963 she began her career performing the standards on the vibrant New York music scene. However, she quickly became a prominent part of the free jazz movement. Her work in these two worlds led to the development of a highly personal, wordless vocabulary later enhanced by her innovative use of vocal electronics.

"More than 20 years after (her debut recording) All Out, Clayton is still the most adventurous singer in jazz, a specialist in wordless improvisation who's also expert in distending and finding new meanings in the melodies and lyrics of classic popular songs."
Francis Davis, The Village Voice, July 14, 2004

Jay has gained worldwide attention as both performer and teacher. She has appeared at major venues including Lincoln Center, Sweet Basil, Town Hall, the Kennedy Center, Jazz Alley, and the North Sea and Montmartre Festivals.

She has taught at Universitat fur Musik in Austria, Bud Shank Jazz Workshop, and at City College and the New School in New York City. She has co-taught with Sheila Jordan at the Vermont Jazz Workshop, Jazz in July in Mass., Banff Center in Canada and was on the jazz faculty of Cornish College of the Arts for 20 years.

Her book, Sing Your Story: a Practical Guide for Learning and Teaching the Art of Jazz Singing, was published by Advance Music in 2001.

Jay has performed and recorded throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe with leading jazz and new music artists including Muhal Richard Abrams, Steve Reich, Julian Priester, Stanley Cowell, Kirk Nurock, Gary Bartz, George Cables, Jane Ira Bloom, Jerry Granelli as well as with the a cappela group Vocal Summit; Urszula Dudziak, Bobby McFerrin, Jeanne Lee, Norma Winstone. Her current projects, covering both standards and original music, integrate poetry and electronics into her music. Her projects reflect the diversity of her art and her live performances, which range from duo to sextet, are unique events that draw from all of these collaborations.

Jay's artistic versatility, so highly regarded by fellow artists, is apparent in her discography.

" A wordless and lyric vocalist in the progresssive vein, Clayton shapes sounds in innovative ways. "
Michael G. Nastos


Clayton's "Circle Dancing" Named Top All-Time Vocal Record

In the June 2004 issue of Downbeat Magazine, Jay Clayton’s album “Circle Dancing” was named one of the 30 all-time best vocal jazz recordings. “Circle Dancing,” released in 1997, features her Seattle-based quintet featuring Briggan Krauss (alto sax), Jim Knapp (trumpet), Randy Halbertsadt (piano), Phil Sparks (bass) and Aaron Alexander (drums). Clayton has two other albums on Sunnyside, Brooklyn 2000 and “Beautiful Love” with Fred Hersch.

All of Jay’s CDs on Sunnyside are available in our online store.

, - June 2004     Read the full article


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