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Gary 'Bo' Clayton

Bo Clayton Photo

Gary “Bo” Clayton is a professional trumpet player in the Middle Tennessee area, and a highly sought private teacher of trumpet and jazz improvisation.

 A native of East Nashville, Bo graduated from Stratford High School before attending Austin Peay State University in Clarksville. Before college he auditioned and joined the 129th Army National Guard Band (1980-85), and during his senior year at Austin Peay, he successfully auditioned for the United States Navy Band. While in the Navy, Bo completed his undergraduate studies through the University of the State of New York in 1992.

 As a member of the U.S. Navy Band (1988-2008), Bo’s duty stations included the following: Navy Band Memphis; Navy Band Guam; Navy Band San Diego; 7th Fleet Navy Band in Yokosuka, Japan; Navy Band Mid-South; Navy Band Northeast; and the Armed Forces School of Music. His various stations afforded him the opportunities to study leading jazz and studio session musicians Bobby Shew in Van Nuys, California, and Scott Thompson in Memphis, Tennessee.

 While in the Navy, he received two Navy commendation medals and five Navy Achievement medals, among other awards. He served as a soloist in several ensembles; music director of the Big Band; conductor of the Ceremonial Band; director of the Navy Showband in Newport; and director of the Admiral’s Protocol Jazz Combo.

Mr. Clayton has had the honor of playing for Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, G. H.W. Bush, G.W. Bush, and Clinton. As a Navy trumpeter he performed across the U.S., and abroad in Mexico, Canada, Japan, Brunei, Malaysia, Korea, Singapore, Philippines, Australia, Guam, Saipan, Tinian, Palau, and Thailand.

 Upon retirement from the Navy, Bo completed his Masters in Music (Trumpet Performance) at Austin Peay State University in 2014, studying with Richard Stephen. He taught Middle School for one year in Nashville before starting his own studio of private students. He has taught hundreds of students in Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky that routinely make District, Honor, Mid-State, and All-State Bands. Currently, Mr. Clayton is the Director of Jazz Ensembles at Austin Peay State University, where he also teaches Jazz Harmony and Jazz Improvisation courses. He is also official sales representative for Greg Black New York Legend Trumpet Mouthpieces, and works with Black on his own custom-made mouthpieces.

He can heard performing live in the Mid-South with the following ensembles: Jimmy Bonilla Salsa Band; Jazz Messenger Project with Aaron Smith; Todd Hill Orchestra; Cumberland Jazz Project; Terry Mike Jeffries Band; GBC Jazz Quartet; Clarksville Jazz Quintet; and the Double Nickel Jazz Duo.


Email: ClaytonG@apsu.edu