Clayton Brothers – The New Song and Dance – ArtistShare

by | Oct 9, 2010 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Clayton Brothers – The New Song and Dance – ArtistShare AS0107 – 68:45 [avail. through] ****½:

(Jeff Clayton, alto sax and alto flute; John Clayton, bass; Terell Stafford, trumpet & flugelhorn; Gerald Clayton, piano; Obed Calvaire, drums)

ArtistShare provides freedom for musicians to realize their own visions without the constraints of a label dictating what might sell and how to market their ventures. By funding the production and distribution of the CD project through fan based donations, artists can create unfettered by the whims of label owners. Maria Schneider and Bob Brookmeyer, just to name a few, have produced award winning projects, content to know that they can please both themselves and their fans. At different donation levels, fans can get access to video of the recording process, and also at the upper range of donations you can also get extra mention directly on the CD packaging.

In 2008, the Clayton Brothers, joined the ArtistShare movement by producing Brother to Brother. Reviewed here in Jan. 2009, that CD was a winning effort in dispensing the joy that brothers John and Jeff Clayton, along with John’s son, pianist Gerald, and band mates – Terell Stafford on trumpet, and drummer, Obed Calvaire – bring to any recording project. John and Jeff also co-lead the Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, so you can see they are busy fellows.

For their latest issue on ArtistShare, The New Song and Dance, the Claytons decided to take the infectious blend of songs and dances to influence their joyous sound. Jeff’s “Cha Cha Charleston”, inspired by Wayne Shorter, warmly blends the horns into a mellifluous flow that could inspire dancers to let go on the dance floor. Stafford’s brash and inviting swagger takes charge before Jeff’s alto sax adds its magic. Gerald’s sparkling piano choruses add to the effect. “Soul Tango” blends a definite tango with American swing and blues. Argentina meets inner city USA. Stafford gets the tango mood just right in his solo.

“Battle Circle” lets Gerald Clayton bring his earlier high school fascination with hip hop enter his consciousness but the hip hop is only on the periphery here. At nearly twelve minutes, Gerald has room to enter a few directions. Drummer Calvaire drives the beat hard and uncle Jeff digs in with gusto on his solo, as does Terell.

John’s tribute to Stafford (“I wanted him to have a song to sing”), gives Mr. Stafford the chance to display his sumptuous flugelhorn tone in a sweet setting. “Smarty Pants Dants” was inspired by jazz fans at festivals, who when moved give in to the moment and (maybe after a little alcohol) and rise from their seats to display their ecstasy with arms and head occasionally in sync with the beat.

The title cut follows and its groove is contagious as it sets a stage for each band member to solo over the melody and later improvise. If your head does not nod in rhythm to this melody, you should be shown the door. Stevie Wonder’s “They Won’t Go When I Go” enters the classical realm with John’s mastery of the bowed solo sharing honors with Jeff’s alto flute and Gerald’s introspective piano.

“Chicago Bop Steppin” written for the band’s manager, Gail Boyd, extols the virtues of the Windy City’s original dance, Chicago Bop. No dance tribute worth its salt would ignore New Orleans, and the Clayton clan close out with “Street Dance.” Calvaire sets the drum beat to NOLA time and the quintet takes out their dance tribute properly, with the horns wailing. Jump in the second line, and after you are properly inspired, dance your fingers across your computer to the ArtistShare web site and order a copy or two of The New Song and Dance. You’ll be dancing again in no time.

TrackList: Cha Cha Charleston, Soul Tango, Battle Circle, Terell’s Song, Smarty Pants Dants, The New Song and Dance, They Won’t Go When I do, Chicago Bop Steppin’, Street Dance

– Jeff Krow

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