During his work with pianist, Herbie Hancock’s 70’s super- funk/fusion band “The Headhunters,” Mike Clark quickly acquired a reputation for his distinctly personal and altogether innovative slant on the art of funk
drumming. His over-the-top and somewhat slithery approach to a funk groove proved to be a vital component to a group steered by Hancock’s equally pioneering “Arp and Moog” synthesizer excursions. However, Clark’s roots were founded in Be-Bop drumming among prior stints with the late, great, trumpeter, Woody Shaw, and many others of note. Here, Clark realigns with ex-“Headhunters” band mate, saxophonist, Bennie Maupin, while guitarist, Charlie Hunter and others lend their virtuous talents to Actual Proof
Perhaps the drummer’s most comprehensive solo effort to date, the listener will be treated to a series of peppery arrangements, featuring his idiosyncratic, push and pull mode of execution. Clark’s years of shedding with the best and brightest comes to fruition via his impossibly structured backbeats and flair for the dynamic, where he acts as a catalyst for the soloists. On the catchy “Stingers,” Clark maintains a metronome-like vibe with his hi-hat, counterbalanced by cross-stick patterns on his snare amid 8-string electric guitarist, Charlie Hunter’s groove-based voicings. “The Viper” boasts a slithery funk groove, accented by the horn sections’ blustery choruses and feisty exchanges while the band gains impetus atop Clark’s ascending rhythms. The musicians even manage to toss a soft ballad into the mix, not to mention the crawling blues piece titled, “Attack Of The 40 ft. Woman.” Whereas, the group tops off the often-excitable proceedings with a super charged, hybrid funk/New Orleans shuffle vamp on “The Famous Door.” Nonetheless, this is a thoroughly memorable affair! Vigorously recommended!