WMU News

Acclaimed bassist to visit WMU

February 4, 1999

KALAMAZOO -- An accomplished bassist will come to Kalamazoo this month to perform and work with music students through Western Michigan University's Visiting Scholars & Artists Program.

Double bassist John Clayton Jr. has gained prominence as a performer, composer and arranger in both the jazz and classical music fields. He will bring his vast experience to campus for a five-day residency Feb. 14-18.

Clayton's versatility, ease with the public and straight-ahead style as a band leader, composer, arranger, teacher and music director inspire and move both musicians and listeners. He has performed as a bassist for Diana Krall and in the Count Basie Orchestra and as principal of the Amsterdam Philharmonic.

As a composer/arranger, he has worked with George Benson, Quincy Jones, McCoy Tyner, Natalie Cole and Aretha Franklin. He also received a platinum record for his stirring arrangement of "The Star Spangled Banner" performed by Whitney Houston.

Most recently, he was appointed director of the new Los Angeles Philharmonic Jazz Orchestra, the West Coast equivalent of Wynton Marsalis' New York Philharmonic Jazz Orchestra.

During his residency, Clayton will teach classes in arranging and jazz composition, present master classes, and perform and conduct. Public events include a free master class at noon Sunday, Feb. 14, in Dalton Center's Carter Rehearsal Room, Room 1130, and will culminate in a concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17, in the Dalton Center Recital Hall. At the concert, Clayton will perform and conduct his own works along with the University Jazz Orchestra and University Jazz Lab Band, the School of Music's two instrumental jazz ensembles. Concert tickets for his Feb. 17 performance are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors and will be sold at the door.

The Visiting Scholars and Artists Program was established in 1960 and has supported some 500 visits by scholars and artists representing more than 65 academic disciplines. The chairperson of the committee who oversees the program is Dr. James M. Hillenbrand, professor of speech pathology and audiology.
Clayton's visit to WMU also is being sponsored by the School of Music. For more information, call Thomas Knific, WMU associate professor of music, at (616) 387-4710.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 616 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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