Cliff Gordon

Saxophonist | Composer | Producer

Sum

-Hailing from Houston, TX, Cliff Gordon is an internationally traveled musician that seeks not only knowledge, but enlightenment. Within his first 24 years of life, he has made his way to over 20 cities spanning 5 countries (and counting), performed and worked with countless musicians, educators, producers, and earned his master's degree; all while gaining and collecting the necessary elements in his pursuit to complete his latest projects: from film scores to his debut album.

Upbringing

-These accomplishments wouldn't have been possible without the guidance of the mentors he's had over the years, in music and in life. At the ripe age of 4, Cliff's mother encouraged him to nourish and hone his natural ability with the piano at home, and later placed him in a music program in grade school. 

-The momentum of his growth continued under the tutelage of Kyle Turner and Horace A. Young; holding lessons in music and jazz, as well as sharing lessons of experiences in careers and personal  professionalism. This was expounded upon in The Houston SJW (Summer Jazz Workshop), which aided in understanding the basic concepts of Jazz improvisation, its theory, the history and business. By the age of 12, Cliff was performing all over Texas at restaurants, political events, and festivals with the various bands he was in year round. It was while touring he met Bobby Watson and Randy Weston, both departing pearls of wisdom and inspiration to the young musician.

-Soon thereafter, Cliff was inducted into the ranks of "Caliente", "the nationally acclaimed repertoire ensemble for Diaz Music Institute" run by Jose Diaz. It was at the institute's summer program he learned about latin jazz music: the styles, the cultures and the histories behind them. While there, he learned from and performed with Tito Puente, Ndugu Chancelor, Marcie Chapa, Poncho Sanchez, Miguel Zenon, and many more. Such exposure sparked an interest in the other ways music is interpreted.

-While involved with Caliente, Cliff joined "Young Sounds of Houston";  a youth big band that was under the direction of Sam Jackson. Also performing various music festivals, the band took an opportunity to go overseas and showcase their  jazz repertoire and stylings in Bordeaux, France. This international trip was his first, and further pushed his wanderlust toward the foreground. All before the age of 15!

Education & Acumen

-Cliff went on to study at one of Houston's prestigious arts high schools, HSPVA, which is known to have contributed major players in the modern jazz scene. Most of which return to provide insight to the profession, what it takes, and how they themselves have gotten to where they are; and even perform at concerts with the students. Notable alumni are Walter Smith, III, Robert Glasper, Kendrick Scott, Jason Moran, Ben Williams, Eric Harland, and the list goes on. There, he further developed his musicianship and professionalism. 

 

 

-Since then, Cliff has taken time to intensively dive deep into his studies while at Jackson State University as one of the leading soloists. He then spent a couple years at University of North Texas, before graduating Magna Cum Laude from JSU. Over the course of his undergrad studies, he'd played and worked with Cassandra Wilson, Ravi Coltrane, Michael Rodriguez, Houston Person, Jill Scott, Jeff Clayton, Vincent Gardner, Chris Dave, Kendrick Scott, and others.

-From there, he went on to Berklee Valencia, where he earned his master's degree in Contemporary Performance and Studio Production. He toured with Berklee Valencia's Latin Jazz Band under the direction of Victor Mendoza. While there, he took the opportunity to work extensively with Grammy-Band Director Patrice Rushen, and Danilo Perez; as well as earned a spot to record with Grammy award-winning producer Javier Limon, and Antonio Serrano. During his stay in Valencia, he's toured Spain and performed in other countries from Ljubljana, Slovenia and its "Igraj Se Z Mano" Mednarodni Festival to Amman, Jordan with singer and producer Aziz Maraka's Bands Across Borders event. All throughout being featured as a soloist, side man, guest clinician, and composer/arranger.

-The many prodigious souls he's met along the way of his journey have helped shaped his career and concept to what it is today. Over the years, he's had the honor and pleasure to learn from, play and work with the likes of Wynton Marsalis, Chris Dave, Jill Scott, Andre Hayward, Robert Glasper, Lincoln City Jazz Orchestra, Tim Ruiz, Jon Faddis, Stefon Haris, Brandon Lee, Aaron Goldberg, and many more.

Follow-up

-Though he's been keeping a low-profile, Cliff Gordon is set to make waves in the industry with his eclectic approach to music. His experiences have made him adaptable to a wide array of styles including, but not limited to, Jazz (from Swing to Stretch), Groove Fusion (from Funk to Soul), Spanish Flamenco, Jordanian Pop, and much more. 

-Just recently, he's won an award from Akademia Music for Best Jazz Song Sept. 2017.

"Cliff Gordon's species of straight-ahead jazz is perhaps the most appealing to a modern audience for the genre; 'Breathe Easy' will find eager fans everywhere it's heard." -- Akademia Music

-When asked about his exploits and their effects on him as a musician, he states, "These culturally enriching experiences really opened my eyes to different perspectives, and aided in overcoming challenges within both the world and myself".

-"Cliff displays a monumental growth...will soon be a heavy hitter in the world of music"

-"...colorful approaches to modern [musical] concepts"

-"...there seems to be no measure nor limit to his ambitions"

-"Cliff Gordon is one of the most professional and courteous musicians I've had the opportunity to hire.  He has done multiple transcriptions for me, perfectly putting the notes, chord symbols, and all other necessary musical symbols on the page for any recording I've sent his way, from classical piano to jazz quintet recordings.  He is easy to work with, his pricing and turnaround time is competitive, and I whole-heatedly recommend him to anyone needing help with composing, arranging, or transcribing a piece of music of any genre! -- @JazzAustin

This young man's versatility gives him a strong edge. He's grown too much to continue being under the radar and will offer the world a different perspective. Stay tuned.