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Clay Moore (photo) Jazz guitarist Clay Moore is a rare find on today's jazz scene a unique voice that strengthens and expands the jazz idiom with sensitivity, clarity, and uncompromising integrity. Clay's warm, expressive tones and impeccable phrasing have been delighting U.S. and international audiences for over 20 years.

Clay was born in 1956 in Amarillo, Texas. His family was avidly musical, and he was surrounded by a variety of live and recorded music growing up American folk, blues, classical, African, Caribbean, and jazz.

Inspired by popular rock and blues groups such as The Allman Brothers, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and John Lee Hooker, Clay first picked up the guitar at age 16. A year later his burgeoning interest in jazz was furthered when El Paso, Texas-based guitar master Curt Warren was hired to teach a semester at his high school. Although Curt had his hands full with a class of beginning guitar players, he would often take time before class to show Clay a chord progression or scale fingering. When Curt left El Paso to rejoin the Navy, he told the young guitar enthusiast to "learn to read and learn solos off of records."

After high school Clay moved to Tampa, Florida, where he began playing some of his first gigs and jam sessions in clubs. With limited access to professional instruction, he taught himself jazz theory and history by scouring local libraries, music stores, and record stores, reading every book and magazine he could find with the word "jazz" in the title and building an album collection that included the giants that were to prove his foremost jazz guitar influences: George Benson, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Pat Martino, Barney Kessel, and Howard Roberts.

Later, Clay attended master classes with Howard Roberts, Joe Pass, Pat Martino, Steve Brown, and John Scofield, and his diligent self-study paid off. When he made the pilgrimage to Pat Martino's house in Philly, the guitar master told him, "You don't need a guitar teacher. Get out and play."

Clay lost no time in taking his mentor's advice. By the late 1970's he was a professional musician living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, honing his craft in a musically diverse succession of bands that ran the gamut from Top 40 to blues, country-rock, hard rock, and fusion.

Clay Moore (photo)
In 1984 Clay moved to Austin, Texas, where he added musical theater and studio work to his expanding schedule of live music performances. A regular on the Austin jazz scene, he has performed with Lee Konitz, Larry Coryell, Brad Terry, Tony Campise, Mitch Watkins, Julie Christensen, Alex Coke, Rich Harney, Elias Haslanger, Bob Meyer, James Polk, Brannen Temple Suzi Stern, Rob Lockart, and many others. As a core member of saxophonist Tomás Ramirez's group for over ten years, Clay opened for many internationally-known artists including Bill Frisell, Eric Johnson, Spyro Gyra, and Chuck Mangione.
Clay Moore (photo) Clay moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1992, where he spent a year playing with local musicians in pubs and festivals.

After a short professional stint in Seattle, Washington, Clay returned to Austin in late 1994. There he chose Austin-based Viewpoint Records to release his debut CD, entitled Meeting Standards.

In November of 2000 Clay moved once again, to South St. Paul, Minnesota, where he released his second CD, To A Tee, and continues to perform and teach. In the fall of 2003 Clay was hired full time to teach at Music Tech, the premier music trade school in the midwest.

Clay has fronted groups in the Twin Cities featuring internationally acclaimed musicians such as Anthony Cox, Eric Leeds, Jay Epstein, Terry Burns, Billy Peterson, Gordy Johnson, Jay Young, Phil Hey, and Gordy Knudtson. His current group, the Clay Moore Trio (featuring Michael O'Brien on bass and Greg Schutte on drums) has quickly developed a dedicated following playing at Brilliant Corners, Dakota Bar & Grill, Dixie's on Grand, the Artists' Quarter, Cafe Luxx, Loring Pasta Bar, and Sophia.

Clay can also be heard as a member of the Bobby Lyle Trio.
In addition to To A Tee and Meeting Standards, Clay's discography includes
  • Debbie Duncan's Travellin' at the Speed of Love (Danti Records)
  • Will Taylor's Reel Life (Amazing Records)
  • Pamela Hart's May I Come In? (HartBeat Productions)
  • Paul Klemperor's Texas Tenure
  • Terry Bowness (Aardvark Records)

Selected performances include:

 

 

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