James Clay (musician)

James Clay (musician)

James Earl Clay (b. Sept. 8, 1935, Dallas, Texas - d. there, Jan. 1, 1994) was an American hard bop jazz tenor saxophonist and flutist.


While in school Clay played alto saxophone, became a professional musician, and played with local bands in Dallas, including with Booker Ervin. Later, he went to California, there he played in 1957 in Red Mitchell's quartet and on recordings with Lawrence Marable. at the end of 1957 he returned to his hometown of Dallas, and served in the Army in 1959. Under his own name, he released two albums in 1960. He made an appearance on the classic Wes Montgomery album, "Movin Along", playing sax and flute. Clay attempted a comeback in the 1980s, playing in 1987 with Bill Perkins and in 1988 with Don Cherry on the album "Art Deco".

His style is heavily influenced by Sonny Rollins.


* James Clay Quartet with Lorraine Geller: "Lorraine Geller Memorial" (1957)
* "The Sound Of The Wide Open Spaces" (OJC, 1960) with David Newman, Wynton Kelly, Sam Jones, Art Taylor
* "A Double Dose Of Soul" (OJC, 1960) with Nat Adderley, Victor Feldman, Gene Harris, Sam Jones, Louis Hayes
* "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart" (Verve Records, 1989)

As Sideman

* Don Cherry: "Art Deco" (A&M Records, 1988)
* "Billy Higgins Quartet" (Contemporary, 1980, 1986)
* Lawrence Marable Quartet: "Tenorman" (Fresh Sound Rec., 1956) with Sonny Clark
* Red Mitchell: "Presenting Red Mitchell" (OJC, 1957)
* Wes Montgomery: "Movin´Along" (OJC, 1960)
* Bill Perkins: "The Right Chemistry" (Jazz Mark, 1987)

Further reading

* Richard Cook & Morton, Brian: "The Penguin Guide To Jazz on CD", 6th Edition, London, Penguin, 2002 ISBN 0-14-017949-6.

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