Gerald Clayton returns with multigenerational album Bells on Sand

Six-time Grammy-nominated artist Gerald Clayton returns with his latest studio album Bells on Sand.

This will be the pianist and composer’s second entry with Blue Note Records, coming April 1. In 10 tracks of original music, Clayton explores the impact and abstraction of time with contributions from mentor Charles Lloyd on saxophone, father John Clayton on bass, longtime friend and peer Justin Brown on drums, and new collaborator MARO on vocals.

“Each musician on the record represents a different aspect of the axis of time and its shifting sands,” Clayton says. “My father and Charles Lloyd, who has been a mentor figure to me, reflect new permutations of my past, and the lineage of elders who have shaped my development; Justin Brown, being my contemporary and musical brother, represents my present; and MARO represents the future — she is part of the next generation, and points to a brand new collaboration.”

Clayton’s approach towards concise intimacy ultimately shapes the music he composed for this release. His desire to share more of himself with listeners and fellow artists greatly informs his musical choices and thoughtful curation of the entire album. What will stand out most is his ability to create quiet chambers for all four artists to be themselves.

Bells on Sand opens with Water’s Edge, which you can hear below.

“By the water, I experienced subtle environmental shifts,” Clayon says. “Songs I would sing, play or write were but an expression of a particular shape in the sand at that moment. Any meaning behind what I created came from viewing that creation over a temporal landscape. A song felt a certain way on a certain day, and the next day would feel and function completely differently.

“I hope these reflections encourage people to step back and recognize that our testaments — songs, stories, intentions — lay atop an ever-shifting landscape,” he continues. “To look at things from this zoomed-out perspective might allow for a union between past, present, and future. It might allow us to embrace the totality of our life experience. That we may consider the lessons from our past when living the present moment in a way that serves the future.”

Here’s the track listing for Bells on Sand:

  1. Water’s Edge (feat. John Clayton & Justin Brown)
  2. Elegia (feat. John Clayton)
  3. Damunt de tu Només les Flors (feat. MARO, John Clayton & Justin Brown)
  4. My Ideal 1
  5. That Roy (feat. Justin Brown)
  6. Rip (feat. Justin Brown)
  7. Just a Dream (feat. MARO)
  8. My Ideal 2
  9. Peace Invocation (feat. Charles Lloyd)
  10. This is Music Where You’re Going My Friends

Gerald Clayton’s Bells on Sand will be released April 1 via Blue Note.