Gerald Clayton returns with Bells On Sand, his ravishing second album for Blue Note Records, which is out now on vinyl, CD, and digital formats.
The album explores the impact and abstraction of time over ten tracks of fresh orchestration and original music with contributions from his father John Clayton on bass, mentor Charles Lloyd on saxophone, longtime friend and peer Justin Brown on drums, and new collaborator MARO on vocals. Clayton discusses the new album with Blue Note President Don Was on the latest episode of ‘First Look’, which you can check out below.
“Each musician on the record represents a different aspect of the axis of time and its shifting sands,” says the acclaimed pianist-composer. “My father and Charles Lloyd, who has been a mentor figure to me, reflect new permutations of my past, and the lineage of elders who have shaped my development; Justin Brown, being my contemporary and musical brother, represents my present; and MARO represents the future—she is part of the next generation, and points to a brand new collaboration.”
Unadorned intimacy shapes the music. Clayton’s desire to share more of himself with listeners and fellow artists wields heady influence over his musical choices and his thoughtful curation of the entire album. But most striking is his ability to create quiet chambers for all four artists to be themselves.
“I hope these reflections encourage people to step back and recognize that our testaments—songs, stories, intentions—lay atop an ever-shifting landscape,” says Clayton. “To look at things from this zoomed-out perspective might allow for a union between past, present, and future. It might allow us to embrace the totality of our life experience. That we may consider the lessons from our past when living the present moment in a way that serves the future.”
Gerald Clayton plays the following US dates:
April 4 – Johnson Theater – Durham, NH
April 28-30 – Schermerhorn Symphony Center – Nashville, TN
May 19-20 – Harlem Stage – New York, NY
June 4 – Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues – Portsmouth, NH
June 5 – Shalin Lui Performing Arts Center – Rockport, MA
June 25 – Hollywood Bowl Jazz Festival – Los Angeles, CA
September 25 – Monterey Jazz Festival – Monterey, CA
October 4-9 – Village Vanguard – New York, NY.