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Family Jazz: Gerald Clayton And Oliver Lake

Oliver Lake.
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Oliver Lake.

When music runs in the family, the older generation gets to hire at home, while the younger generation gets hands-on experience — ideal to launch a career.

Gerald Clayton, son of bassist John Clayton, is the pianist in the world-traveled Clayton Brothers Quartet. It features his dad and his uncle Jeff on alto sax. In 2008, Gerald visted Brazil with trumpeter Roy Hargrove's big band and is currently touring under his 2009 release Two-Shade.

At the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Clayton performs with Ben Williams on bass and Otis Brown on drums. Gerald plays two originals and then "Emily" alone. His solo style demonstrates his love of the late Oscar Peterson, whom Clayton calls his "first love on the piano."

"I remember listening to him when I was about 9 or 10 non-stop," Clayton says. "He was the bulk of my music library for the next five years, and I still love listening to him today. So to me, everything I play is somewhat tied to Oscar."

In JazzSet's second set, the Oliver Lake Organ Quintet takes the stage at the Kennedy Center with a Hammond B3 organ and turntables. The quintet is a two-generation band, with Lake's sons Gene (on drums) and DJ Jahi Sundance (on turntables), along with Freddie Hendrix on trumpet and organist Jared Gold.

In the late 1970s, Lake co-founded the World Saxophone Quartet. The concept was no orchestra and no rhythm section; just four horns, great rhythms, and colorful sounds. Painting with horns suits Oliver, because he's a visual artist himself.

For his eclectic talent and accomplishments as a musician, poet, painter, and composer, Lake won the 2006 Mellon Jazz Living Legacy Award from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation.

Gerald Clayton's set recorded Nov. 9, 2007.

Oliver Lake's set recorded Oct. 12, 2007.

CREDITS

Recording and mix engineer is Duke Markos with Greg Hartman and Mark Barrie of Big Mo, assistant Martin Taylor. Onsite producer for the Gerald Clayton Trio and mix assistant is Yujin Cha. Bridgewater's recording engineer is Ginger Bruner at KUNV Las Vegas. Producer Becca Pulliam. Executive Producer Thurston Briscoe III at wbgo.org.

Copyright 2009 WBGO