Gerald Clayton – Bells On Sand (2022) [FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Gerald Clayton – Bells On Sand (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 43:06 minutes | 785 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Blue Note Records

On his second Blue Note album, pianist Gerald Clayton wants to deal with the effects of the abstract power of time. Supporting him are none other than his mentor Charles Lloyd on saxophone, his father John Clayton on bass, Justin Brown on drums and, for the first time, MARO on vocals. You’ll hear originals, pieces by Catalan composer Federico Mompou and Gerald’s uncle Jeff Clayton, as well as two stunning solo piano versions of the standard “My Ideal.”

Embracing his classical influences, pianist Gerald Clayton conjures a richly soulful and dreamlike atmosphere on his second Blue Note album, 2022’s Bells on Sand. Even going as far back as his time in the 2000s with Roy Hargrove and then through his first few solo albums, Clayton has evinced a classical warmth in his playing. His measured style is marked by complex chordal harmonies, delicate arpeggiations, and a languid, poetic feeling that often evokes the work of Chick Corea. It’s also a personal sound, informed by his musical roots with his father, esteemed bassist John Clayton, as well as his work with saxophonist Charles Lloyd — both of whom appear here. He brings all of this to full flower on Bells on Sand, crafting songs that straddle the line between classical chamber music and flowing modal post-bop. The record is technically his first studio outing for the label following his 2020 concert album Happening: Live at the Village Vanguard. Where that release found him leading his adventurous quintet, here he offers spare duo and trio performances that are meant to reflect his past, present, and future as an artist. As such, he has brought together an intimate handful of collaborators, including his father, drummer Justin Brown, and Portuguese vocalist MARO. Also featured is Clayton’s former boss and mentor, saxophonist Lloyd, with whom he has worked closely since 2013. There’s a spiritual, imagistic quality to much of the album that has the feel of a ’70s ECM recording. On the opening “Water’s Edge,” Clayton frames his father’s mournful bowed bass lines with slow storm-cloud chords and the gathering rumble of Brown’s drumming before trickling in a shimmering rainbow of organ. Equally languid moments follow, as in Clayton’s take on Catalan composer Federico Mompou’s “Damunt de tu Només les Flors,” a sleepy, tango-esque lullaby sung with romantic sadness by MARO. Particularly rapturous is “Peace Invocation,” a shimmering noir daydream in which Clayton’s warm piano bakes like late-afternoon sun against Lloyd’s dusky tenor sax shadow. – Matt Collar

01. Gerald Clayton – Water’s Edge (06:39)
02. Gerald Clayton – Elegia (01:17)
03. Gerald Clayton – Damunt de tu Només les Flors (03:50)
04. Gerald Clayton – My Ideal 1 (03:39)
05. Gerald Clayton – That Roy (02:16)
06. Gerald Clayton – Rip (03:07)
07. Gerald Clayton – Just A Dream (05:29)
08. Gerald Clayton – My Ideal 2 (05:25)
09. Gerald Clayton – Peace Invocation (08:00)
10. Gerald Clayton – There Is Music Where You’re Going My Friends (03:19)