Grammy-winning bassist, composer, and conductor John Clayton’s talents are consistently requested by jazz industry luminaries such as Quincy Jones and Tommy LiPuma. His awards include the legendary Leonard Feather’s Golden Feather Award and the Los Angeles Jazz Society’s Composer/Arranger award. Clayton’s arrangement of “The Star-Spangled Banner” went platinum and was performed by Whitney Houston at the 1990 Super Bowl.
John Clayton began to study music at age 16 with Ray Brown. By 19, Clayton was bassist for the television series The Mancini Generation. He earned his Bachelor of Music at Indiana University, and then toured with Monty Alexander and the Count Basie Orchestra. His Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, and Clayton Brothers Quintet co-led by his brother Jeff and drummer Jeff Hamilton are both Grammy-nominated ensembles.
Clayton has written and arranged music for Dee Dee Bridgewater’s Grammy award winning album Dear Ella, plus seminal projects with Diana Krall, Natalie Cole, Nancy Wilson, Quincy Jones, George Benson, Dr. John, Gladys Knight, Queen Latifah and many others. He has received commissions from the American Jazz Philharmonic, Iceland Symphony, Metropole Orchestra, Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, Richmond Symphony, WDR Symphony Orchestra, and the Amsterdam Philharmonic.
As an arts activist, Clayton has served as musical director for the Sarasota Jazz Festival, the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival, and the Santa Fe Jazz Party, among others, and has been Artistic Director of Jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Vail Jazz Workshop, and the Centrum Jazz Workshop in Port Townsend, Washington.