A blog exploring music and photography by Anna Azarov

A blog exploring music and photography by Anna Azarov

Multi-instrumentalist Clark Gayton in his creative space in South Bronx

Multi-instrumentalist Clark Gayton in his creative space in South Bronx

Anyone who knows Clark always describes him as a NY legend, and it’s no wonder. He’s been living in NY for over 30 years and is considered one of the finest musicians and has been playing with some of the most renowned musicians for decades. Clark lives in an apartment that is located in a converted piano factory. The area of the Bronx that he lives in, Mott Haven, used to be a hub for piano factories.

In his sun-drenched and open space, he has instruments laid out all around. Varieties of horns, tubas, trombones, a sousaphone, as well as pianos, bass guitar, and so many others, all within easy reach.  He picks up an instrument depending on what mood he is in and walks around his apartment playing it. The tuba he turns to when he wants to feel better, he says something about the act of playing it is soothing.

We spoke about how he started playing and composing music and he shared that his first instrument was the tuba. He began playing in his school band when he was 12 years old and at his teacher’s encouragement, he composed his first song that same year. Later, also at his teacher’s encouragement,  the band perform his composition. It was the first time he got to hear his own composition and he was surprised at which parts worked and which mistakes actually sounded better than the originals he wrote.

Nowadays, he composes songs in pieces, keeping a stash of ideas that he turns to later on. Sometimes his get inspired from hearing songs on the street. It could be two different songs with different rhythms and melodies playing at the same time, one from a bodega and the other from a car; the blending of sounds breathes life to a new song idea. NYC noise suddenly becomes ripe with inspiration.

Explore Clark Gayton’s music:
Website: Clark Gayton
FB: Clark Gayton



4 thoughts on “Multi-instrumentalist Clark Gayton in his creative space in South Bronx”

  • Honestly Cuzo that last pick of you shows a glimmer of Grandpa Gayton. Something about that side view and your eyes. Grandma Gayton’s in there too.

    Congrats on your amazing success!!

  • Clark, cousin Rochelle was right. That pic does resemble
    grandpa Gayton. You know grandpa had a beautiful
    voice. According to mom he sounded like Paul Robeson
    but better. Clarkie, you are a brilliant musician.

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