Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

CLAYTON, Jay

(b Jay Colontone, 28 Oct. '41 Youngstown OH) Singer. Discovered jazz (Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Ramsey Lewis) in high school; was influenced mostly by horn players (Miles, John Coltrane), tending to hear them as vocalists, so that she approached singing like a horn player. She is an extremely versatile soprano, tending to sing in a high register; like saxophonist David Murray she sometimes works 'inside', sometimes 'outside'; she may be found singing enchanting wordless sounds (vocalese) and straight popular song on the same album, and has earned the respect of both jazz and experimental music fans. She does an incredibly alluring 'So In Love'. Attended Miami U in Oxford OH, majoring in music, singing weekends with jazz musicians on campus; after graduation went to NYC '63, alternated singing standards in clubs and experimenting with vocal improv in the free-jazz loft scene; started teaching jazz workshops '74 (supporting herself until '80 temping in offices). She accepted a teaching job at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle '82 and was still there '96, with a handful of others (Gary Peacock, Julian Priester, drummer Jerry Granelli) becoming part of the Seattle new music scene. A member of Vocal Summit with Bobby McFerrin and Urszula Dudziak, she has also worked with Steve Reich, Muhal Richard Abrams, John Cage. Albums: All Out '80 on Anima, with soprano saxist Jane Ira Bloom; Sound Songs '85 on JMT, a duet with Granelli; Live At Jazz Alley '87 on ITM, with Granelli, Peacock, Priester and Stanley Cowell and something for everyone: an incredible version of Kenny Barron's 'Sunshower', also Coltrane's 'Equinox', plus 'Once Upon A Summertime', 'My Foolish Heart', 'But Beautiful' etc and not a duff track in the lot. The Jazz Alley Tapes '88 on Hep is co-led with saxist Don Lanphere (d 9 Oct. 2003 aged 75, Seattle); Tito's Acid Trip '90 is on ITM; Beautiful Love '94 on Sunnyside is a duet with Fred Hersch on piano, her most straightahead album to date, including Wayne Shorter's 'Footprints'.