Gerald Clayton – Bond: The Paris Sessions


Gerald Clayton
Bond: The Paris Sessions
(Decca/Emarcy)

Innovators like Jason Moran, Robert Glasper and Alfredo Rodriguez are changing the way people think about jazz. Gerald Clayton took his place among them with his supple and fearless playing on his bandleader debut, Two-Shade. His sophomore album, Bond: The Paris Sessions, is 16 tracks of sleekness. While not as rebellious as Glasper’s avant hip hop or as prodigious as Rodriguez, Bond finds Clayton equally challenging and more accessible than his contemporaries.

With songs ranging from ninety seconds to six minutes, Clayton and his trio (drummer Justin Brown and bassist Joe Sanders) have mastered the immediacy of tone and emotion; the music conforms to him, not the other way around. “3D,” one of 10 Clayton originals, exemplifies the soulful spontaneity of the album with Clayton’s wordless exclamations at key pauses. “If I Were a Bell” and “All the Things You Are,” are standards in name only here, as Clayton disguises them in the album’s glimmering character. While Clayton’s chops are superb, the contributions of his sidemen not only enhance his chrome chords but carve out their own shining shapes.

—Matthew Allen