Clifton Anderson was born on October 5, 1957 in Harlem, New York City. He grew up surrounded by music. His father was a church organist/choir director, and his mother a singer and pianist. It was no surprise that Clifton exhibited an affinity for music at an early age. When he was seven years old, he got his very first trombone, a gift from his uncle, legendary tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins.
Clifton attended the prestigious Fiorello LaGuardia High School of Music and Art in New York City and is a graduate of The Manhattan School Of Music. In 1983, Clifton got the call to join his uncle Sonny on the road. For over three decades, he performed as a member of Sonny’s group and toured extensively with him around the world. Clifton has also appeared on ten of his recordings and has produced four releases for Sonny’s label, Doxy Records.
In 1997, Clifton released his first recording as a leader/producer on the Milestone label entitled Landmarks. Landmarks received critical acclaim internationally and made the top ten playlists on US Jazz radio coast to coast. At the end of 2007, Clifton went back into the studio as a leader to produce the highly anticipated, critically-acclaimed Decade (2009).
Clifton has worked and performed with a “who’s who” of diverse musical legends, such as Stevie Wonder, McCoy Tyner, Frank Foster, Slide Hampton’s World Of Trombones, Dizzy Gillespie, The Mighty Sparrow, Lester Bowie, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Paul Simon, Carlos Garnett, Terumasa Hino, Keith Richards, Muhal Richard Abrams, WyClef Jean, Geri Allen, T.S. Monk, and Charlie Haden, among others.