Loyola Jazz Festival

Musician John Clayton is pictured next to his upright bass.

Loyola Jazz Fest 2019: March 15 - 16, 2019

more 2019 Information TBA

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Loyola Jazz Fest 2018:

Bring your student musicians to a great educational festival experience in the birthplace of jazz!

I am pleased to announce that bassist/band leader/ and arranger John Clayton will be the guest artist and clinician for the 2018 Loyola University Jazz Ensemble Festival. The festival is open to big bands or jazz combos from the Elementary through College level.  A panel of expert musician/educators will be available Friday and Saturday to adjudicate your group. One of these educators will give your group a clinic immediately following their performance. Groups that receive all I’s for their performance will receive a plaque. You can also select no rating if you want comments only. Outstanding Musician Awards will be given to exceptional student soloists, arrangers or section leaders. Scholarships to the Loyola University Summer Jazz Camp will also be awarded. Included with the Loyola Festival on both Friday and Saturday at 12:30 p.m. are FREE Master Classes for all instruments, taught by John Clayton and the Loyola Jazz Faculty

John Clayton is a natural born multitasker. The multiple roles in which he excels -- composer, arranger, conductor, producer, educator, and yes, extraordinary bassist -- garner him a number of challenging assignments and commissions. With a Grammy on his shelf and eight additional nominations, artists such as Diana Krall, Paul McCartney, Regina Carter, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gladys Knight, Queen Latifah, and Charles Aznavour vie for a spot on his crowded calendar.

He began his bass career in elementary school playing in strings class, junior orchestra, high school jazz band, orchestra, and soul/R&B groups. In 1969, at the age of 16, he enrolled in bassist Ray Brown's jazz class at UCLA, beginning a close relationship that lasted more than three decades. After graduating from Indiana University's School of Music with a degree in bass performance in 1975, he toured with the Monty Alexander Trio (1975-77), the Count Basie Orchestra (1977-79), and settled in as principal bassist with the Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in Amsterdam, Netherlands (1980-85). He was also a bass instructor at The Royal Conservatory, The Hague, Holland from 1980-83. In 1985 he returned to California, co-founded the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra in 1986, rekindled the The Clayton Brothers quintet, and taught part-time bass at Cal State Long Beach, UCLA and USC. In 1988 he joined the faculty of the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, where he taught until 2009.

Now, in addition to individual clinics, workshops, and private students as schedule permits, John also directs the educational components associated with the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, Centrum Festival, and Vail Jazz Party. Career highlights include arranging the 'Star Spangled Banner" for Whitney Houston's performance at Super Bowl 1990 (the recording went platinum), playing bass on Paul McCartney's CD “Kisses On The Bottom,” arranging and playing bass with Yo-Yo Ma and Friends on "Songs of Joy and Peace," and arranging playing and conducting the 2009 CD "Charles Aznavour With the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra," and numerous recordings with Diana Krall, the Clayton Brothers, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz, Orchestra, Milt Jackson, Monty Alexander and many others.

I think that the Loyola University Jazz Ensemble Festival will be a valuable asset to your teaching and your students’ musical education.


Gordon Towell DME Coordinator of Jazz Studies
Festival Director
504-865-2164 or Fax: 504-865-2852


  • Loyola Faculty Jazz Septet and Guests

    Friday, March 2nd, 4:30 p.m. (Free)


    Saturday, March 3rd, 4:30 p.m. ($5/$10) (Free to Participants)


  • Participation fee is $275 for big bands, and $140 for combos.



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