Clark Gayton

Clark Gayton is an American multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer and musicians' rights advocate.

Clark Gayton playing trombone
Clark Gayton, Buffalo, NY, 2009


Born as Carver Clark Gayton Jr. to Carver Clark Gayton[1] and Mona Marie Lombard,[2] Clark Gayton is a professional musician (trombone,[3] euphonium, tuba, sousaphone, cornet, keyboards, piano), composer and producer.

Clark studied music with Floyd Standifer, JoAnn Christen, Curry Morrison, Julian Priester, Joe Brazil and Buddy Catlet while attending Garfield High School.[4] After graduating from high school in 1981, Clark received a scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music, where he studied with Phil Wilson, Tom Plsek and Tony Lada. He graduated in 1984 and moved to Oakland before moving to New York in 1987 where he lives to this day.[5]

Since living in New York, Clark has worked and recorded[6] with some of the finest jazz musicians in the world, such as Charles Tolliver, Lionel Hampton, Wynton Marsalis and JALC, McCoy Tyner, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Mingus Big Band, Ted Nash and Odeon, Ben Allison & Medicine Wheel, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, Clark Terry,[7] Nancy Wilson, and Ray Charles.[8] Clark toured with Bruce Springsteen as part of the Seeger Sessions band. Clark has recorded or performed with Prince, Rihanna, Brazilian Girls,[9] Steel Pulse,[10] Wyclef Jean, Queen Latifah,[11] Quincy Jones, Sting,[12] Sturgill Simpson, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, Bruno Mars, Bette Midler, Nora Jones, Usher, Steve Van Zandt, Beyoncé, Santana,[13] Maxwell, The Skatalites, and Bad Brains, to name a few. He performs regularly with his band, Explorations in Dub,[14] at Nublu[15] in New York City. He was also a member of Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble Band. He has appeared in the movies Malcolm X,[16] Sweet and Lowdown,[17] and Kansas City.[18] He has performed frequently with Conan O'Brien's house band as a substitute for Richie "LaBamba" Rosenberg.[19] In addition, he is a strong advocate for musicians’ rights and has been a panelist for discussions about the online and independent music industry.

Family influence and early music historyEdit

He is the son of Carver Clark Gayton[1] and Mona Marie Lombard[2] and is the great-grand nephew of the legendary New Orleans musician, Manuel "Fess" Manetta.[20]

The first two professionally trained musicians on his maternal side were Jules and Deuce Manetta who founded the Pickwick Brass Band and played cornet and trombone, respectively. Deuce, trained classically in France, was said to be the first slide trombone player in New Orleans. Valve trombone was the instrument of choice at the time. Their nephew was Manuel Manetta. He began on violin and guitar but did his first paid work as a pianist for Countess Willie Piazza. He played with Buddy Bolden in 1903. By 1910 he had mastered cornet, saxophone, and trombone. Manuel played at Tuxedo Hall with the Eagle band. He went to Chicago in 1913, then returned to New Orleans, played locally for five years. He went to Los Angeles in November 1919 to join Kid Ory. He returned home shortly afterwards and toured as pianist for with Martels' Family Band, then played piano in Ed Allen's Band on riverboats. He settled down in New Orleans where his versatility and musicianship enabled him to work with many bands and orchestras, including Papa Celestin's, Arnold Du Pas and Manual Perez's, and solo work at Lulu White's.[21]

In later years he became the most renowned teacher in New Orleans. He gave occasional public appearances well into his seventies, making a specialty of playing two brass instruments simultaneously. Manuel had a sister, Olivia, who had a son, Lawrence (trombone), and three daughters: Lucille (Clark's grandmother, piano), Dolly (Adams, played all instruments, mother of Justin, Placide, and Gerry Adams), and Gladys (piano). All were born in Algiers.[22]


  • Clark Gayton & Neatherealm – Don't Try To Question 1995 (Ritual, Ltd.)
  • Neatherealm – JahMerican Jazz (Ritual, Ltd.)
  • Clark Gayton – Walk the Water 1999 (Ritual, Ltd.)
  • Clark Gayton – Sankofa! 2003 (Ritual, Ltd.)
  • Clark Gayton – Best of Clark Gayton 2008 (Ritual, Ltd.)
  • Clark and the SuperSlicks- “New York” 2013 (Ritual, LTD)

As sidemanEdit


  1. ^ a b Beers, Carole (October 18, 1998). "Obituaries | Music, Church, Charity Filled The Life Of Lucille Lombard | Seattle Times Newspaper". Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  2. ^ "Clark Gayton". July 1, 2008. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  3. ^ "july2006.indd" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 27, 2011. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  4. ^ Tom Lord. "The Jazz Discography" (North Country Distributors, 1992) ISBN 1-881993-01-9, ISBN 978-1-881993-01-8
  5. ^ "Clark Gayton Discography at Discogs". Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 7, 2006. Retrieved December 11, 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ All About Jazz. "Clark Gayton | Jazz | Trombone". Archived from the original on January 18, 2009. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  8. ^ "Clark Gayton : Home". Archived from the original on February 12, 2012. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  9. ^ Clark toured with Steel Pulse from 1991 – 1992 and recorded the Centennial album with them in 1992
  10. ^ "Black Reign Music Guide – WikiMusicGuide, your music wiki". Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  11. ^ "SYNCHRONIsite - Picture Gallery". October 27, 2009. Archived from the original on October 27, 2009. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  12. ^ He performed also for the video "Smooth" featuring Rob Thomas.
  13. ^ "- YouTube". YouTube.
  14. ^ "Nublu". Nublu. October 11, 2011. Archived from the original on November 12, 2011. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  15. ^ Member of Lionel Hampton band (name misspelled) "Malcolm X (1992)". Archived from the original on June 5, 2009. Retrieved December 11, 2008.
  16. ^ "Sweet and Lowdown: Credits". Archived from the original on June 5, 2011. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  17. ^ "Rhapsody Productions Inc". Archived from the original on October 5, 2011. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  18. ^ Jay Leno. "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno | Watch Episodes and Video Online for Free – NBC Official Site". Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  19. ^ [1] Archived September 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ "storyville madams". February 14, 1914. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  21. ^ Ogren, Kathy J. (1989). The jazz revolution twenties America & the meaning of jazz. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507479-6.