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Gerald Clayton: Two-Shade

The title of this recording implies a dissolving duality; a single, new color emerging when two are blended. Indeed, Gerald Clayton’s debut as a leader, following stints with Lewis Nash, Al Foster, Clark Terry and Roy Hargrove, among others, reflects the importance he places on honoring tradition while finding his own voice and direction. The 25-year-old, L.A.-raised, NYC-based Clayton draws on the legacies of revered piano precursors while looking to other genres, carving his own path within the Clayton family-he is the son of bassist John Clayton and nephew of saxophonist Jeff Clayton-and among his peers.

Originally released through the fan-funded ArtistShare and picked up by Emarcy, the set consists mainly of Clayton’s original compositions, as well as Cole Porter’s “All of You” (which earned Clayton a Grammy nomination for Best Improvised Jazz Solo) and Dizzy Gillespie’s “Con Alma.” The funk-driven “Boogablues” opens with exuberant energy, establishing the superb rhythmic support and creative input that Joe Sanders (bass) and Justin Brown (drums)-both rising stars on the New York scene-offer throughout. The haunting, balladlike feel on “Peace for the Moment,” underscored by Sanders’ bow, gradually builds in momentum as the tune oscillates between a sense of fervor and quiet contemplation.

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