The Clayton/Cole Duo combines the talents of Canadian born vocalist, Samantha Clayton and American born jazz guitarist, Steven Cole. Together, the two deliver a dynamic duo experience (both have pedals to alter and enhance their individual performance), delighting audiences with their varied song choices and interpretations. Comprising their set list are jazz compositions both familiar (Cole Porter and Duke Ellington) and lesser known (Chick Corea and Thelonious Monk), rounded out by fresh arrangements of Pop and Motown favourites culled from the repertoires of Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder, The Grateful Dead, Smokey Robinson, Joni Mitchell and Michael Jackson.
Photo credit - Philippe Davisseau
Steven Cole grew up in New York City and started learning music playing the violin in grade school, continuing on double-bass at the High School of Music and Art. During this time he taught himself to play the guitar, progressing through a variety of styles from rock, folk and bluegrass, to classical, then later to jazz. Steven was accepted into the Ithaca college music performance program as an orchestral bassist but left after a year to travel around the US, England, and France performing as a solo acoustic guitarist and singer.
Steven moved to Montreal in 1975 where he joined the jazz vocal group Bug Alley Band featuring singer Karen Young. He was the group's guitarist and one of four vocalists as well as arranger. Bug Alley went on to appear on a number radio and TV shows, the Lotto Canada Show among them, and recorded for CBC radio. One album was produced by bassist Gene Perla on PM Records.
In 1980 he became active in the Bay Area music scene after relocating to Oakland CA. This brought him together with players such as pianist Mark Levine, bassist Robb Fisher, and drummer Vince Lateano (members of the late Cal Tjader's quintet). He performed in the 1981 Monterey Jazz Festival and played with legendary Chet Baker in 1983. Steven was also guitar instructor for the Young Musicians Program at UC Berkeley during that time.
After moving back to NYC Steven continued his music studies taking formal composition with composer Nils Vigeland at the Manhattan School of Music. He enrolled in the City University of New York - Hunter College music program where he earned his Bachelors and Masters degrees.
Steven lives in Toronto and leads his own ensembles Steven Cole group, Thermal Quartet, and 25 Strings guitar quartet. He has performed with many of Toronto's fine jazz artists and plays regularly with Hammond organ master Kingsley Ettienne, Daredevils of Soul, as well as the Toronto Art Orchestra, The Tony Mergel band and Steve Kendry quartet.