484

Clayton Brothers: Brother to Brother

J Hunter By

Sign in to view read count
Clayton Brothers: Brother to Brother 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

More Articles

Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ask Seek Knock CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Air and Light and Time and Space CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Acoustically Speaking" CD/LP/Track Review Acoustically Speaking
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 6, 2016
Read "Have Yourself an Alto Madness Christmas" CD/LP/Track Review Have Yourself an Alto Madness Christmas
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 4, 2016
Read "Satori" CD/LP/Track Review Satori
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 1, 2016
Read "Umbra" CD/LP/Track Review Umbra
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 31, 2016
Read "Ubuntu" CD/LP/Track Review Ubuntu
by James Nadal
Published: September 8, 2016
Read "Eka" CD/LP/Track Review Eka
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 21, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.