Monterey, Calif.; February 24, 2020; The Monterey Jazz Festival is proud to announce that the Grammy-nominated pianist, composer and educator Gerald Clayton has been appointed as Artistic Director and conductor of MJF’s Next Generation Jazz Orchestra (NGJO) for 2020-2022.
“Since the first time I stepped on the festival fairgrounds as a high schooler to recent years performing with legends on the main stage, I’ve amassed a plethora of humbling and educational experiences at the Monterey Jazz Festival,” said Clayton. “It is with a spirit of immense gratitude and excitement that I take on this position and join MJF in their commitment to fostering new generations of talented young musicians. I can’t wait to learn from the next batch of hungry young artists and share with them some of the lessons I’ve learned throughout my years.”
“I am thrilled with the deepening of our relationship with Gerald Clayton as he is one of my favorite young artists,” said Tim Jackson, MJF Artistic Director. “His blending of innovation and tradition may be the strongest of his generation and his musical lineage is beyond compare. I believe he will bring a fresh energy to the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra and provide our young artists with innovative concepts, strong leadership and a spirit of fun and collaboration.”
Gerald Clayton first appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 2000 and 2001 as a member of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts Vocal Ensemble which won the High School Vocal Division at the Next Generation Jazz Festival. Clayton attended both USC Thornton and the Manhattan School of Music, and in 2006, he received the second place prize in the Thelonious Monk Institute Piano Competition.
Gerald Clayton has recorded or toured with Diana Krall, Ambrose Akinmusire, Kendrick Scott, Terell Stafford, Charles Lloyd, Terri Lyne Carrington, Roy Hargrove, and many others. In 2016, Clayton acted as Musical Director for “Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour.” He also served as MJF’s 2017 Artist-in-Residence along with his father, bassist and composer John Clayton, and drummer Jeff Hamilton.
The NGJO is the Festival’s flagship student honor ensemble. Created in 1971, the orchestra has been part of MJF’s continuing commitment to jazz education by presenting the country’s most talented young musicians. Nearly one thousand student artists have been members of the orchestra, with many going on to lauded careers in jazz, including pianists Benny Green and Patrice Rushen; saxophonists Joshua Redman and Donny McCaslin; and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire to name a few.
The Next Generation Jazz Orchestra will perform on the Jimmy Lyons Stage on Sunday, September 27 with Artist-in-Residence Christian Sands at the 63rd Annual Monterey Jazz Festival, September 25-27, 2020. The NGJO will also perform sets on the Grounds throughout the weekend.
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