All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

484

Clayton Brothers: Brother to Brother

J Hunter By

Sign in to view read count
Jazz had a family thing going long before the Marsalises showed up; Jeff and John Clayton created Brother to Brother to showcase the sibling side of that equation. Wynton and Branford's music isn't touched on, but other related members of jazz royalty receive due deference either through loving covers or new compositions inspired by honorees. To complete the project's family atmosphere, John's son Gerald Clayton holds down the piano chair, with outstanding results.

The Jones boys (Thad, Hank and Elvin) bookend Brother thanks to two terrific Jeff compositions: "Wild Man" captures the fiery essence of Elvin, while "The Jones Brothers" touches on the artistic goodness all three brothers brought to the game—Hank on his own, Elvin with Coltrane, and Thad through the ensemble now known as the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. Terell Stafford was one of (seemingly) thousands on the VJO's smoking Monday Night Live at the Village Vanguard (PlanetArts, 2008), but he steps out of the crowd on Brother, completing a weapons-grade front line that sports enough power to peel the chrome off a trailer hitch.

After clearing the decks on "Wild Man," Jeff and Terrell literally get down to business on the greasy long-form blues "Still More Work," which was inspired by Nat Adderley's classic "Work Song." This begins what could be called The Adderley Suite as the quintet goes on to tackle Nat's hypnotic "Jive Samba" and Jeff's original "Big Daddy Adderleys"; the love the Claytons have for the Adderley brothers radiates from these pieces. Jeff and Stafford may as well be brothers given the seeming telepathy that surrounds the solo exchanges and skin-tight harmonies. As for Gerald, the only time he gets even remotely sentimental is when he complements John's heartbreaking bowing on "Where is Love"—arguably the most saccharine song in Broadway history. The rest of the time, the young lion takes his cues from the front line, serving up percussive stick-and-move piano lines that definitely leave a mark or three.

While Brother to Brother is a musical triumph, it doesn't fully deliver on its premise. There's no question of the Adderleys and the Joneses' impact on the genre, and the Claytons can be excused for giving extended love to Nat Adderley, who John credits as a musical and personal influence. But the other "historical" connections are, at best, a stretch: "Bass Face" was written by Kenny Burrell, whose brother was a bassist; Monty Alexander covered "Where is Love," and Monty worked for years with vocalist brother Larry. With all respect, comparing these duos' body-of-work with that of the Heaths or the Breckers (both mentioned in John's liner notes, but unrepresented in the set) is like saying Jason & Jeremy Giambi's combined statistics qualify both players for induction into Cooperstown.

Nonetheless, the overall quality of Brother to Brother is undeniable. Every piece is undiluted trad jazz, delivered with no apologies and no quarter. So while some worthy musicians may have been missed here, the Claytons' passion for this subject shines so brightly.


Track Listing: Wild Man; Still More Work; Jive Samba; Big Daddy Adderleys; Bass Face; Walking Blues; Where is Love; The Jones Brothers.

Personnel: Jeff Clayton: alto sax; John Clayton: bass, vocals (6); Terrell Stafford: trumpet, flugelhorn; Gerald Clayton: piano; Obed Calvaire: drums.

Title: Brother to Brother | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: ArtistShare

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
The Gathering

The Gathering

ArtistShare
2013

buy
The Gathering

The Gathering

ArtistShare
2012

buy

Related Articles

Read Mønk CD/LP/Track Review
Mønk
by Chris May
Published: September 20, 2018
Read The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming CD/LP/Track Review
The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Hidden Details CD/LP/Track Review
Hidden Details
by John Kelman
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Selective Coverage CD/LP/Track Review
Selective Coverage
by Jim Olin
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Fat Daddy CD/LP/Track Review
Fat Daddy
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Short Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Short Stories
by Gareth Thompson
Published: September 19, 2018
Read "Contra la indecision" CD/LP/Track Review Contra la indecision
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 19, 2018
Read "Let's Groove: The Music of Earth Wind & Fire" CD/LP/Track Review Let's Groove: The Music of Earth Wind & Fire
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 1, 2017
Read "Passion Reverence Transcendence" CD/LP/Track Review Passion Reverence Transcendence
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: August 17, 2018
Read "Fullmoon" CD/LP/Track Review Fullmoon
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 24, 2018
Read "Tribute to Bobby" CD/LP/Track Review Tribute to Bobby
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 5, 2017
Read "Electric Miles" CD/LP/Track Review Electric Miles
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 31, 2018