Artist-in-Residence: Gerald Clayton

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 | 7:00 pm


**TWO PUBLIC CONVERSATIONS EXPLORING GERALD CLAYTON’S PIEDMONT BLUES**

GERALD CLAYTON’S PIEDMONT BLUES: HONORING A DURHAM TRADITION

Celebrated jazz musician Gerald Clayton, award-winning theater director Christopher McElroen, and acclaimed vocalist and Piedmont native René Marie discuss the making of Gerald Clayton’s Piedmont Blues, and the Piedmont blues tradition born in Durham, in a conversation moderated by poet and cultural historian Darrell Stover.

Clayton’s Piedmont Blues premieres Friday, December 2 and Saturday, December 3 at Reynolds Industries Theater on Duke’s West Campus. Info below and tickets available HERE.

Tuesday, November 29, 7 – 8:15 PM
Beyù Caffè, 341 West Main Street, Durham
Free & open to the public.

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TALKING MUSIC: THE MAKING OF PIEDMONT BLUES

Celebrated jazz musician Gerald Clayton, award-winning theater director Christopher McElroen, and UNC Folklore professor Glenn Hinson discuss the making of Gerald Clayton’s Piedmont Blues, in a conversation moderated by North Carolina Arts Council Executive Director Wayne Martin.

Clayton’s Piedmont Blues premieres Friday, December 2 and Saturday, December 3 at Reynolds Industries Theater on Duke’s West Campus. Info below and tickets available HERE.

Wednesday, November 30, 12 – 1:15 PM
Forum for Scholars & Publics, 011 Old Chemistry Building, Duke West Campus (Directions)
Free & open to the public; a light lunch will be served for all attendees starting at 11:45 AM.

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**Learn more about Piedmont Blues on the project’s website HERE.**

Gerald Clayton “has proved himself one of the standout jazz pianists of his generation, possessed of silvery technique and an intent but relaxed way with a phrase” (The New York Times). This young jazz master grew up playing with his father John Clayton and uncle Jeff Clayton in their Clayton Brothers combo. He’s since forged his own path, leading his eponymous multi-GRAMMY-nominated trio and holding down the piano chair in Charles Lloyd’s quartet.

Duke Performances has commissioned Clayton to make Piedmont Blues, a sprawling live concert tribute to the Piedmont blues — a musical style defined by ragtime rhythms, fingerpicking guitar, and understated vocals twinned with searing lyrics — that grew up around the tobacco warehouses of Durham in the 1920s and ‘30s, when the Bull City was the largest cigarette manufacturer in the world. Though the most famous exponents of the Piedmont blues — Blind Boy Fuller, Reverend Gary Davis, and Etta Baker — have passed, a few musicians still keep the tradition alive. Clayton and his collaborator, theater director Christopher McElroen, have made a half-dozen research visits to Durham to learn from and work alongside these musical elders in preparation for this major new show.

This live concert presentation features Clayton’s Piedmont blues-inspired compositions written for The Assembly, a top-tier nine-piece jazz ensemble featuring the GRAMMY-nominated singer and Piedmont native René Marie, who has been called “masterful” by DownBeat and “hip and swinging” by The Wall Street Journal. Entwined with the music is an assemblage of projected film, new and archival photography, and Southern folklore underscoring the verdant cultural landscape of the Piedmont region. Don’t miss the world premiere of this essentially Durham project.
Gerald Clayton’s Piedmont Blues: Honoring a Durham Tradition is co-sponsored by Beyù Caffè.

Talking Music: The Making of Piedmont Blues is a part of Talking Music: Conversations with Scholars, Writers, Archivists, and Artists, co-sponsored by Duke Performances and the Forum for Scholars & Publics.

Duke Performances | Duke University is the lead commissioner of Piedmont Blues; co-commissioners include the Modlin Center for the Arts at University of Richmond, the Savannah Music Festival & Strathmore.

Critical support for Piedmont Blues has been provided by the Music Maker Relief Foundation — a nonprofit based in Hillsborough, NC — founded to preserve the musical traditions of the South by directly supporting musicians, ensuring that their voices will not be silenced by poverty & time. www.musicmaker.org

Made possible, in part, with an award from the National Endowment for the Arts; a grant from the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources; and a grant from New Music USA.

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