's Thrust (Columbia/Legacy, 1974). While "Actual Proof" and a slew of other terrific tracks have cemented Clark's reputation as a drummer with chops to spare, this particular period of his musical life has often pigeonholed him. Blueprints of Jazz, Vol. 1 will alter this perception as he demonstrates why, throughout his storied career, he has been a first call drummer for A-list artists like Hancock, Chet Baker
blowing hard. The song culminates with Clark's chops-heavy display of taste and technique. "Like That" falls somewhere in the middle of jazz, funk and fusion, an area that Clark knows all too well, with Christian Scott
joining the fray with some bold trumpet work. The slow, woozy swing of "10th Ave. 1957" evokes images of raunchy dives and smoke-filled haunts. Harrison and Scott brilliantly bring these elements into greater focus during this seductive performance. The high-energy, Middle Eastern-tinged "Past Lives" fuses Latin grooves with funk, an opportunity for the saxophones, Clark and bassist Christian McBride
Clark lays down a solid shuffle groove on "Thanks Len," and this proves to be one of the album's most straight-ahead performances. Rushen's bluesy touch is a nice contrast to her previous solos, and Clark quietly moves over to the hi-hat for McBride's solo spot. Clark doesn't completely forsake his Headhunters
' "Freedom Jazz Dance"; Clark and Levy have written a buoyant, happy tune that oozes soul. Scott's "Clark Kent" is a quartet number that gives Scott, Rushen and McBride ample solo space, while Clark holds down the fort.
Clark and McBride create a deep swing groove in five on "Conchita's Dance," a track that, despite the fire and energy of the soloists, is really about the bond and groove created by the rhythm section, and sustained throughout. "Morning Becomes Electra" is a hard driving, up-tempo burner which features some stunning solo work from Clark. The only thing that seems to be missing is a ballad, and Clark fills in this gap with Billy Eckstine