Piano Sensation Gerald Clayton at the Hilton Harrisburg & Towers on January 25th


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The Central Pennsylvania Friends of Jazz (CPFJ) announces a performance by rising piano star Gerald Clayton and his trio on Sunday, January 25, 2009 at 5:00 at the Hilton Harrisburg & Towers, Second Floor Ballroom, One North Second Street, Harrisburg, PA. The Dover High School Jazz Band led by George Bradshaw opens.

“Sensation" is an easy word to toss around in the entertainment industry. In the case of Gerald Clayton, there is substantial evidence to back up that description. At the tender age of 24, he has already performed all over the world, receiving numerous honors and rave reviews.

He was born in the Netherlands, but by the age of six, he was studying classical piano in Southern California. He attended the Los Angeles High School for the Arts, where he was named a National Presidential Scholar in the Arts. He received his B.A. degree at the University of Southern California School of Music (recording on “Back in the Swing of Things" at 21).

That year he also appeared at the IAJE/NEA Jazz Masters Award Concert.

He moved to New York City, began recording immediately and played on two Grammy-nominated releases.

During a recent 10-night residency at the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy, he opened “before a crowd of more than 5,000 and won over that throng" according to JazzTimes.

And respected jazz critic and historian Ted Panken wrote:

So is Gerald Clayton's superbly interactive young trio (Joe Sanders, bass; Justin Brown, drums), who allow the 24-year-old pianist to bring forth an apparently bottomless well of reference while navigating repertoire that spans Ray Bryant-style soul jazz, the standards songbook and bebop, the

Euro-Classical canon, and his own originals, which embrace the harmonic complexities of the modern lexicon. Even among a generation of technical wunderkinds, Clayton stands out for his musicality-the nuance of his touch, the precision of his articulation, his ability to communicate a story in his solos.

In addition to an extensive European swing, he was in Japan and Brazil this year. back in the U.S., he is a regular at New York City's prestigious Jazz Gallery and has been heard at venues like the Kennedy Center, Newport Beach Jazz Festival and Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival.

He plays with “... an Oscar Peterson-like style, highly controlled touch and dynamics and rhapsodic, espisodic soloing" says the New York Times.

“I try to draw upon all the music that I love, all the different styles I love," says Clayton. “That includes classical, Erroll Garner and Hank Jones. I've listened to so much of the old stuff and I think that might come through sometimes in my playing. I always want to show respect to the music that inspired me and that I love so much, but I don't feel like I want to just stay there. I think music should definitely keep growing and moving. But I think it's important to get rid of the distinctions between genres and just think about expression and honesty."

His regular mates Joe Sanders and Justin Brown join Gerald. Although they too are young, both are carving strong reputations in jazz.

George Bradshaw leads the Dover High School Band to start things off.

Tickets for the January 25, 2009 concert are: General Adult Admission - $25, General Student Admission - $12, CPFJ Adult Members - $18 and CPFJ Student

Members - $10. CPFJ School Member student with ID - $5, and children under 12 are always free. CPFJ Sponsors and Corporate Members receive their tickets in the US mail. Tickets also may be purchased by phoning 717-450-1010 or at the door on the day of the concert.

About Central Pennsylvania Friends of Jazz (CPFJ)

Since its formation in May of 1980, the Central Pennsylvania Friends of Jazz, Inc. has grown to become the premier organization in Central PA for Jazz, one of the few original American art forms,

It's mission for over 26 years has been to preserve, foster, promote and present live Jazz in Central PA by local, regional, national, and world renowned international artists for the enjoyment of all audiences

The idea for the jazz society was conceived over two decades ago when Jack Snavely, Lee C. Swartz, Russ Neff, Steve Rudolph, and a number of other area musicians and fans met to support local jazz performances. This group created a viable organization which exceeded 350 members after the first year.

Today, our membership is close to 1000 members and the result of efforts by an amazingly active core of volunteers who have made CPFJ the “jazz service organization" for Central Pennsylvania.

CPFJ has contributed greatly to the growth of quality jazz and related arts in Central Pennsylvania. Our promotion of concerts and educational programs featuring world-class jazz artists has inspired many promising young area musicians to great heights including York, PA saxophonists Tim Warfield & Chris Bacas, Harrisburg saxophonists Andy & Rob Middleton, drummer Ray Brinker and many others.

One of the organization's major accomplishments has been the annual CPFJ Jazz Festival, which has been held every June since 1981. The Festival hosts three days of major concerts, clinics, youth concerts, historic films, riverboat jazz cruises, the JazzWalk (held nightly in various downtown locations), Jazz in the Sanctuary, and much more. Over 30 bands perform a variety of jazz styles in over 20 different venues.

CPFJ's monthly concert series has become a popular attraction in the Central Pennsylvania area. The seven monthly concerts are held on Sunday evenings in Jan., Feb., March, April, Sept., Oct. & Nov. Featured on the program with the internationally-known artists are area professional bands, the CPFJ Youth Bands, and various high school and college jazz ensembles. Most of the artists that have appeared for CPFJ would never have played in this area without the involvement and promotion of the society.

A few of the thousand plus featured artists over the years at our festival and Sunday night concerts have included Nat Adderly, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Mose Allison, Ray Anderson, Kenny Barron, Louie Bellson, Art Blakey, Terence Blanchard, JoAnne Brackeen, Michael Brecker, Ray Brown, Kenny Burrell, Donald Byrd, Cyrus Chestnut, Chick Corea, Joey DeFrancesco, Buddy DeFranco, Bob Dorough, Paquito D'Rivera, Peter Erskine, Jon Faddis, Stan Getz, Benny Golson, Dexter Gordon, Stephane Grappelli, Slide Hampton, Roy Hargrove, Tom Harrell, Barry Harris, Billy Higgins, Shirley Horn, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Milt Jackson, Ahmad Jamal, J.J. Johnson, Elvin Jones, Hank Jones, Branford Marsalis and Wynton Marsalis, Jack McDuff, Nicholas Payton, Marian McPartland, Anita O'Day, Oregon, Flip Phillips, Tito Puente, Flora Purim, Sun Ra, Joshua Redman, Max Roach, Red Rodney, Sonny Rollins, Poncho Sanchez, Mongo Santamaria, John Scofield, Jimmy Smith, Terell Stafford, Mike Stern, Sonny Stitt, Ira Sullivan, Arthur Taylor, Clark Terry, Steve Turre, McCoy Tyner, Dave Weckl, Phil Woods and others

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