Claytons' 'Gathering' shows marvelous play
Clayton Brothers and Friends (ArtistShare)
Bands that work together as well as this one can stay fairly mainstream in approach and, yet, be creative and fresh. “The Gathering” is a collection of 12 mostly original songs by the Clayton Brothers, led by bassist John and alto saxophonist Jeff. The band also features John's son, pianist Gerald, trumpeter Terell Stafford and bassist Obed Calvaire. Its members seem to understand each other as family might, even if not all are related. Joining the quintet on eight of the numbers are trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and vibist Stefon Harris, who fit in well. The album features tunes that go from the soft “Touch the Fog” to the bright “The Happiest of Times” and also include a good reading of “Don't Explain” and Benny Carter's “Souvenir.” But the album is build around the marvelous play of this group, which should not surprise anyone who happened to see them on a bright afternoon last June at the JazzLive festival, Downtown.
— Bob Karlovits