(Most of these gigs are in the San Francisco, San Jose & Monterey Bay Area)
It’s October and it’s definitely feeling like Fall. I’m playing lots of excellent gigs in different locations. It’s a great time for me.
Featured Gig: Our next duo show is with the soulful jazz singer, Clif Payne at Angelicas, November 14.
This will be a night of musical improvisation and creativity and FUN. Hope you can come. Tickets are FREE if ordered online at Angelicas website ($10 at the door). Make your reservations early.
Clif Payne – Biographical Profile
Clif has performed with Freda Payne, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Norman Connors, Bobby McFerrin, Ellis Hall, Sheena Easton, American Idol judge & vocal coach Peggy Blu, Four Play drummer Harvey Mason, jazz fusionists Hiroshima and former Chicago vocalist Bill Champlin. Clif has opened for Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Rubén Blades, Dan Siegel and Dionne Warwick.
Clif was born in the Harlem Sugar Hill area of Harlem and now resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. His eclectic vocals span the genres of jazz, R&B, gospel, blues, rock, folk, pop and classical.
“I frequently use the ‘jazz’ description because it allows me to be me:
A singer who loves to be eclectic & expressive in a variety of musical genres.” CP
Clif is “a lush tenor with soaring melismas in his individual passages.”
Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times.
In 2016, Clif released his debut solo album–Welcome To My World–that also features a Clif/Freda duet-“No Payne, No Gain.” She is best known for her hit song “Band Of Gold.” A dance mix of “No Payne, No Gain” produced by the UK’s Nigel Lowis was on the 2016 Grammy ballot for nomination for Best R&B Vocal. “No Payne, No Gain,” written by R&B Hall of Fame inductee Preston Glass (“Miss You Like Crazy, “Don’t Make Me Wait For Love”) spent 2 weeks at the top of the Soul/R&B charts in Great Britain, receiving the title of UK’s Soul Song of the Year. In August 2016, Clif and Freda performed their duet live in LA at Herb Alpert’s Club Vibrato. Also on Welcome To My World are original En Vogue vocalist Maxine Jones and Midnight Star’s Reggie Calloway. Welcome To My World was produced Preston Glass, and Grammy orchestra music director Larry Batiste.
The power trio of Glass, Batiste and Payne reunite for his 2018 release – TOO!
Dynamic Duets – Clif teams up with an array of musical legends including George Benson and Little Anthony on this Preston Glass-produced album.
Love and Compassion – produced by Glass includes a track featuring The Manhattan’s Gerald Alston and Clif’s Welcome To My World track,
“Peace Is More (Than The Absence of War).”
Disco Soul Gold – the #1 R&B/Soul album in the UK for 2017, was produced by Nigel Lowis and includes the dance mix of “No Payne, No Gain.”
A musical epiphany for Clif occurred back in the 1970s upon hearing a 45-rpm record of Donny Hathaway, “Jealous Guy,” from the Donny Hathaway Live record. “I was floored! So, I went out and bought the whole album!”
Bobby McFerrin is credited with “discovering” Clif, who saw McFerrin singing at a club one California evening. Clif went in, talked with Bobby during a break and talked McFerrin into singing with him. Bobby asked Clif, “Are You good?” Clif replied, “Yes!” Bobby then asked, “Are you REAL Good??” Clif said, “Yes!!” At the start of the next set, McFerrin introduced Clif to the audience and then let Payne, “do his thang!” The audience response was so great that McFerrin sang with Clif and invited him to be the special guest at McFerrin’s next gig. At that gig, he gave Clif his first California gig as a soloist.
Music figures prominently in Clif’s family. His father, James “Buddy” Payne was a reedsman who gigged with jazz legends Lionel Hampton, Fletcher Henderson and participated in the Harlem Renaissance. Clif’s mother was a talented vocalist who once backed Nat “King” Cole in a vocal ensemble. The Payne family lived in the same apartment building that, at the same time, was also home to Duke Ellington and drummer Cozy Cole (Ringo Starr’s favorite drummer). Ellington lived on the 4th floor, the Payne Family and Cole lived on the 3rd floor, circa 1954. The apartment building located at 935 St. Nicholas St. in Harlem is now a designated national landmark.
Shandra Bennett, Clif’s cousin, is a background vocalist with country superstar Martina McBride.
I totally enjoy playing the grand piano at the elegant Cetrella in Los Gatos most Fridays and Saturdays; playing solo at Merrill Gardens; at the stately San Jose Country Club. I’m playing solo at Dominican Oaks and Merrill Gardens. I also play for the Sundays at at Westhope Presbyterian Church in Saratoga. Come here often to check out newly added gigs. (See the listings below for more information.)
I’m loving playing the “Art of the Duo” concerts at Angelicas in Redwood City. They have been a huge success. Thank you to Sandra Marlowe, Tammi Brown, Cathy Segal-Garcia, Kay Kostopoulos, Mary Jenson, Daria, Azure McCall, Darryl Rowe, Roberta Donnay, Molly Holm, Wendy Waller, Ellen Johnson, Deborah Winters and Lin McPhillips for playing great shows.
Our next Angelicas “Art of the Duo” is with the fabulous Clif Payne on Wednesday, November 14.
We have updated and revamped the JazzSkills for Piano website. Check it out. We are now offering a brand new introductory offer.
For you church pianists out there . . . . I just finished my new course, HymnSkills: Developing Hymn Improvisation.