John Clayton Parlor Series Vol. 1 (With Gerald Clayton) – Artist Share AS0124, 60:18 ****:
(John Clayton – bass; Gerald Clayton – piano)
As a hassle-free foray into a series that has the intention of bringing together bassist/composer John Clayton with a wide variety of pianists, starting off with his own son, the stellar Gerald Clayton, seems to be a no brainer. The result, as might be expected, is an experience that takes its motivation from the chemistry between the two family members.
This eight-track session takes its inspiration from some well-tilled ground, but the numbers are only used as the starting point for some imaginative playing from both players. Each one has their own style but pianist Gerald has a more idiosyncratic approach to the keyboard. Starting with “Alone Together” Gerald delivers a stylish and nimble take on the number with John in solid support. “If I Should Lose You” begins with John stating the melody and then Gerald filling in the frame in a medium-tempo vein showing his eloquent flexibility. Antonio Carlos Jobim’s bossa nova “Zingaro” offers a change of pace, but maintains its unity, and fits in well with the overall structure of the session.
While Billy Joel’s “And So It Goes” may not often be thought of as a starting point for a jazz interpretation, but John shows his arco talent as he covers the tune with strong bowing showing he is an adaptable bassist. “Isfahan” was written as part of Duke Ellington’s Far East Suite and was originally recorded by the Ellington band in 1966 with Johnny Hodges on alto sax doing the solo work. With some Ellington style filagree by Gerald opening the tune, father and son give the composition a delightful swinging mode and confirm that they are adroit improvisors. The longest track of the session: “All The Things You Are,” closes out the album and after Gerald’s somewhat oblique opening solo chorus or so, John picks up the theme with some strong single-note playing. Eventually the melody appears in a disarming manner confirming that this is a very savvy duo.
TrackList: Alone Together; If I Should Love You; Zingaro; Yesterdays; And So It Goes; Isfahan; Sonny Day Go; All The Things You Are