Buck Clayton (born Wilbur Dorsey Clayton; Parsons, Kansas, November 12, 1911 – New York City, December 8, 1991) was an American jazz trumpet player who was a leading member of Count Basie’s "Old Testament" orchestra and a leader of mainstream-oriented jam session recordings in the 1950s. His principal influence was Louis Armstrong. The Penguin Guide to Jazz says that he “synthesi[zed] much of the history of jazz trumpet up to his own time, with a bright brassy tone and an apparently limitless facility for melodic improvisation”. Clayton worked closely with Li Jinhui, father of Chinese popular music in Shanghai. His contributions helped change musical history in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Of all the jazz artist represented in the series of Dr. Jazz radio broadcasts, Buck Clayton is the one least likely to be classified as a Dixieland musician. Buck’s style, in fact, was the quintessence of big band swing as exemplified through his many years with the Count Basie aggregation. With the demise of the big bands, however, Buck turned more and more to playing in combos. It was the New Orleans clarinettist Tony Parenti, who encouraged Buck to learn the Dixieland repertoire around this time and Buck thought it a good idea to become more versatile and enlarge the type of gigs available to him.