Jay Clayton is an internationally acclaimed vocalist, composer, and educator, whose work boldly spans the terrain between jazz and new music. In 1963 she began her career performing the standards on the vibrant New York music scene. However, she quickly became a prominent part of the free jazz movement. Her work in these two worlds led to the development of a highly personal, wordless vocabulary later enhanced by her innovative use of electronics. With more than 40 recordings to her credit, Clayton has appeared alongside such formidable artists as Muhal Richard Abrams, Steve Reich, Kirk Nurock, Julian Priester, Jerry Granelli, Jane Ira Bloom, Gary Bartz, Jack Wilkins, George Cables, Fred Hersch, Gary Thomas, tap dancer Brenda Bufalino as well as fellow vocalists Jeanne Lee, Norma Winstone, Urszula Dudziak and Bobby McFerrin.
She has taught extensively throughout the world and was on the jazz faculty of Cornish College of the Arts, Peabody Institute in Baltimore and Princeton University. Her book, Sing Your Story: A Practical Guide for Learning and Teaching the Art of Jazz Singing, was published by Advance Music in 2001. Her many accomplishments include grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, CAPS, and in 2004 received the New Works: Creation and Performance grant from Chamber Music America.