James Clay is a name new to many modern-day jazz listeners. But Clay's earliest fame came in the late 1950s when the young woodwind expert arrived on the Los Angeles jazz scene as a contemporary of this fellow Texan Ornette Coleman. Never an avant-garde experimenter like Coleman, Clay was immediately heard by his peers as a gifted mainstream player with ears open to a wide harmonic range. Clay went into obscurity for nearly 30 years before making a comeback.
A fine tenor saxophonist who was part of…
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