John Clayton

Bassist, Composer, Arranger and Producer, John Clayton is a busy man. He is a Grammy winner with nine additional nominations and has written and/or recorded with artists such as Milt Jackson, Diana Krall, Paul McCartney, Regina Carter, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gladys Knight, Queen Latifah, McCoy Tyner, Yo-Yo Ma and Charles Aznavour, to name only a few.

John was the principal bassist in the Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra (The Netherlands) from 1980-1984. In 1986, John co-founded the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and rekindled The Clayton Brothers Quintet. In addition to his individual clinics and workshops, he also directs the educational components of Centrum, The Port Townsend Jazz Festival, and the Vail Jazz Workshop.

It is John’s arrangement of the “Star Spangled Banner” that helped propel Whitney Houston in her 1990 performance at the Super Bowl (the recording went platinum). His recordings with the Clayton Brothers, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Milt Jackson, Monty Alexander, Count Basie and others are plentiful. John feels “I’ve been guided by a village of musicians who helped me understand the humility that goes along with playing music at the highest level you can. Ray Brown used to tell me to ‘Learn how to play the bass!!’ Just take care of the music and it will take care of you.”

February 2023

Please note: Biographies are based on information provided to the CSOA by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on websites of the artists or their management.