The Buck Clayton Legacy band is currently playing four projects – a selection of Buck’s music given to Alyn Shipton and played at many concerts and festivals including Breda, Oberhaching, Upton-On-Severn, Gateshead, the EFG London Jazz Festival, Swansea and the Bristol Jazz Festival; “Buck and Billie” the Billie Holiday Project, initially with Gwyneth Herbert, and now with “Lady J”; Kansas City Blues with Michael Roach, and (launched at the EFG London Jazz festival in 2014) a Celebration of Duke Ellington, 40 years after his death.
The great swing trumpeter Buck Clayton made his reputation in the cut-throat jam sessions and all-night blues clubs of 1930s Kansas City. In later years, he kept the traditions of the great “blues shouters” alive by touring Europe and the UK with his own octet, along with such singers as Jimmy Rushing, Big Joe Turner and Jimmy Witherspoon. The Buck Clayton Legacy Band, formed in 2004 by bassist Alyn Shipton and saxophonist Matthias Seuffert to re-explore Clayton’s music, delves into that Kansas City Legacy. They turn their concerts into a speakeasy in the grand tradition of the Reno and Woodside Clubs immortalised by Count Basie. At the 2013 Cheltenham Jazz Festival, at Dame Cleo Laine’s Wavendon Garden Season, and at both the 2015 and 2016 Swansea Festival of Music and the Arts where they played for dancing, they were joined by the celebrated American blues singer Michael Roach, himself a resident of Cheltenham, and a living repository of blues history.
The Band’s CD CLAYTONIA was launched on 1 July 2013.
THE DUKE ELLINGTON SHOW was premiered at the London Jazz Festival, and subsequently played at Sage Gateshead (along with an Ellington workshop) and SJE Arts in Oxford. It was at Swanage Jazz Festival in summer 2016, and was at Pinner on 1 April 2017.
THE BUCK CLAYTON repertoire was the central feature of the 2015 Oberhaching Classic Jazz Festival near Munich, and also featured at the 2015 Upton on Severn Jazz festival on 26 June 2015. The band played this repertoire at the Pershore Festival in August 2016 with a Buck Clayton memorial concert, and it will be the focus of the band’s Swiss tour in November 2017: Bülach, November 24; Thalwil, November 25; and Baden, November 26.
KANSAS CITY BLUES was at the Swansea International Festival of Music and the Arts in the Brangwyn Hall on 10 October 2015, and the band returned there in October 2016.
The BILLIE HOLIDAY PROJECT was at the Watermill Jazz Club Dorking on 8 January 2015, as in this picture with Gwyneth Herbert — dates in 2017, are below.
With Lady J the band is at Pizza Express Jazz Club on 26 July, https://www.pizzaexpresslive.com/whats-on/buck-and-billie-the-buck-clayton-legacy-band-and-lady-j ; at Pershore Jazz festival on 20 August, http://pershorejazz.org.uk/festival-2017/ and Durham Jazz Festival at Ushaw on 26 August.
“The former Basie trumpeter gave co-leader Alyn Shipton a box of original music: revamped for this brilliant nonet by saxophonist, Matthias Seuffert, Clayton’s pieces lived again, emphasising his composer’s gift for well-shaped, swinging structures, the playing as exuberant yet concise as any Basie-ite might wish. Seuffert rolled out his classic, big-toned tenor, Alan Barnes adapted his alto style to suit and the brass trio of Menno Daams and Ian Smith, trumpets, and Adrian Fry, trombone, pulled out all the necessary stops. Daams, from Holland, plays hot when necessary but is equally adept at easing down in Hackett-like fashion on something soft and slow like ‘Smoothie’.”
Peter Vacher, Jazz UK.
The musicians: Matthias Seuffert, reeds and Alyn Shipton, bass (co-leaders); Menno Daams and Ian Smith, trumpets; Alan Barnes, reeds; Adrian Fry, trombone; Martin Litton, piano; Martin Wheatley, guitar; Bobby Worth, drums. For the Ellington show the band is joined by Robert Fowler or Karen Sharp, reeds.
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Band photos: John Watson / JazzCamera/ Lyndon Jones / Ben Edwards/Erproductions