Duo brings jazz to Wilton

Gerald Clayton was a young pianist when he last performed at Wilton Library eight years ago. He returns to the Brubeck Room for a Hot & Cool jazz concert Sunday, Feb. 15, at 4 p.m. Joining him will be saxophonist Dayna Stephens.

In the last eight years, Mr. Clayton has created three albums as a leader, participated in several studio projects as a sideman and performed in countless worldwide concerts, establishing himself as a leading figure in the up-and-coming generation of jazz artists.  His most recent album, “Life Forum,” is an expression of his commanding influence.

Born in the Netherlands in 1984 and raised in Southern California.  Music has always been a part of his life, with the encouragement of his father, acclaimed jazz bassist, composer and bandleader, John Clayton.  Gerald completed his degree at USC Thornton School of Music, including a year-long stint at Manhattan School of Music.  He received the second place prize in the prestigious Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz Piano Competition and shortly thereafter met and started a collaboration with trumpeter Roy Hargrove.  Gerald also appeared on recordings by several other artists, such as Diana Krall, Ambrose Akinmusire, Kendrick Scott, Melissa Morgan, Terell Stafford & Dick Oatts, and more recently Michael Rodriguez, Dayna Stephens, Terri Lyne Carrington, and the Clayton Brothers Quintet, led by his father and his uncle, saxophonist Jeff Clayton.

Dayna Stephens

Saxophonist/composer/educator Dayna Stephens is a master of composition and arrangement, a highly acclaimed band leader and an in-demand sideman for contemporary jazz masters such as Kenny Barron, Al Foster, Idris Mohammed, Taylor Eigsti, a Brubeck Room alum, and Roy Hargrove.

Mr. Stephens was born in Brooklyn and raised in the San Francisco Bay area. He showed serious talent early on, winning many awards and scholarships to various music programs, while attending the prestigious Berkeley High School. He then proceeded to the Berklee College of Music in Boston on a full scholarship. Following his graduation, Mr. Stephens was selected by judges Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Terence Blanchard for the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at USC where he studied and played with, among others, Mr. Shorter, Mr. Hancock, Dave Holland, John Scofield and Mark Turner.

As a leader, he has produced several CDs, and he has served on the faculty at the Stanford Jazz Workshop for nine consecutive years. He has been a featured artist at the Sebelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland as well as giving master-classes and clinics at various high schools and colleges across the US.

Hot & Cool concerts are free; a $10 donation is suggested. CDs will be available for purchase during the informal reception that follows the concert.

Advance registration is strongly recommended. Information: wiltonlibrary.org and click on Events or call 203-762-3950, ext. 213. Wilton Library is at 137 Old Ridgefield Road.