"Swingin' with the CJO" season begins with "Come Together: From Gershwin to the Beatles"

Under the direction of world-renowned band leader and trumpet virtuoso Byron Stripling, the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, now in its 40th year, continues to break new ground while honoring the rich heritage of America’s classical music – jazz. The Jazz Arts Group of Columbus (JAG) kicks off the 2012-13 Swingin’ with the CJO season with “Come Together: From Gershwin to the Beatles” (October 25-28 at the Southern Theatre). Join the CJO for a magical mystery tour of the revolutionary styles and genres of songwriting greats from George and Ira Gershwin to John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Young lions Gerald Clayton (DownBeat Magazine‘s “up-and-coming pianist to watch”), and local musicians Jonathan Elliott and Theo Perry of The Floorwalkers (twice voted “Best Band in Columbus” by 614 Magazine‘s 2010 and 2011 Readers’ Poll) will light up the stage in a display of how “tradition and innovation can peacefully coexist.”

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At only 28-years old, Gerald Clayton has already become one of the most talented and diverse pianists on the scene today. The son of bandleader John Clayton and nephew of saxophonist Jeff Clayton, Gerald was born into a musical family. At the age of seven, Gerald began his study of classical piano with Linda Buck and later studied jazz piano with the likes of Billy Childs, Kenny Barron, Shelly Berg, and Donald Vega. Continuing his formal education at the USC Thorton School of Music, Clayton received his Bachelor of Arts from the Jazz Studies department in 2006. Immediately following graduation, Clayton went on the road with Grammy Award-winning artist Roy Hargrove and in that same winter took second place in the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Piano Competition.

In addition to his multiple tours with Hargrove from 2006-2008, Clayton can be heard on recordings with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, The Clayton Brothers, and Diana Krall. As the leader of the Gerald Clayton Trio, their debut album, Two-Shade, was released in 2009. His solo on the standard “All of You” from the Cole Porter songbook netted him a Grammy nomination for Best Improvised Jazz Solo; only one of his three Grammy-nominated performances. His recordings are supplemented by his arrangements and compositions which have been commissioned by the Jazz Gallery of New York and the BBC Orchestra.

Clayton’s style, which All About Jazz describes as “not only stunning but fresh, original and distinctly the music of today,” comes from his willingness to incorporate a multiplicity of influences into his music. In his own words, Clayton’s open-mindedness toward music allows him to “continue to absorb all these influences and in doing so create my own voice.” Despite his young age, his talents and ability to meld jazz with other styles have made him a jazz veteran early. While continuing to record and tour with other groups, Clayton’s focus remains on his New York-based trio (with Justin Brown on drums and Joe Sanders on bass) in order to fully explore his own musical thoughts. Clayton’s established career has made him one of the most widely watched young artists, and with all of his success, his future appears bright.

Audience members can join Byron Stripling for a casual and engaging conversation with Gerald Clayton and the wonderful guest artists of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra in a new workshop series at the Jazz Academy. “Offstage at the Jazz Academy” provides participants a behind-the-scenes glimpse from the artist perspective on performing with the CJO – adding new perspective to being an audience member. In addition to the opportunity to learn something new, each guest artist will be asked to share what they are currently listening to on their iPods or CD players, introducing audiences to new and exciting music and artists. “Offstage at the Jazz Academy” is free to CJO subscribers and $10 for general registrants. Pre-registration is requested and available at www.jazzartsgroup.org.

“Offstage at the Jazz Academy” 2012-13 season schedule:

  • Saturday, October 27, 2:00 pm – Gerald Clayton
  • Saturday, February 9, 2:00 pm – Lewis Nash
  • Saturday, March 16, 2:00 pm – Debbie Gravitte
  • Saturday, April 13, 2:00 pm – Dave Powers

Under the direction of Mark Donavan, the Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra (CYJO) is proud to perform prior to each Swingin’ with the CJO matinee concert. Comprised of premier players in grades 9-12 from central Ohio and beyond, the CYJO provides opportunities for talented high school age musicians to further their experience in America’s classical music – jazz. Admission to the CYJO performance at 2 PM is included with each 3 PM Sunday matinee ticket purchase.

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Swingin’ with the CJO season subscriptions are available through the CAPA Ticket Office at 39 East State Street or by calling 614-469-0939. Single tickets are also on sale now for $52 (main floor), $46 (first balcony) and $30 (second balcony) and available through the CAPA Ticket Office and through all Ticketmaster outlets. Student tickets are available for $15 (over 18) and $10 (under 18) with valid ID at the door. For more information call 614-294-5200 or visit www.jazzartsgroup.org.

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