280

Mike Clark: Blueprints of Jazz, Vol. 1

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Mike Clark: Blueprints of Jazz, Vol. 1 When Mike Clark's name comes up in conversation, most people recall his brilliant playing and funk fusion grooves on Herbie Hancock'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, Bobby Hutcherson and Tony Bennett.



The album kicks off with the up-tempo swinger, "In The House." Patrice Rushen's passionate piano starts a string of strong solos, with saxophonists Jed Levy and Donald Harrison 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 to have some fun before the song fades out.



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 past on this album, and he puts together some tasty linear grooves on "Loft Funk." The melody line and stylistic traits seem to make this piece a close relative of Eddie Harris' "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's "I Want To Talk About You." Harrison's heartfelt playing is a delight to hear and Clark stirs the soul—and the drums, with his sensitive brushwork, as the album comes to a close.


Track Listing: In The House; Like That; 10th Ave. 1957; Past Lives; Thanks Len; Loft Funk; Clark Kent; Conchita's Dance; Morning Becomes Electra; I Want To Talk About You.

Personnel: Mike Clark: drums; Christian McBride: bass; Patrice Rushen: piano; Christian Scott: trumpet; Donald Harrison: alto saxophone; Jed Levy: tenor saxophone.

Title: Blueprints of Jazz, Vol. 1 | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Talking House Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Screen Sounds CD/LP/Track Review Screen Sounds
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 20, 2017
Read The Bug CD/LP/Track Review The Bug
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Sing Me Some Cry CD/LP/Track Review Sing Me Some Cry
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Masters In Bordeaux CD/LP/Track Review Masters In Bordeaux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 19, 2017
Read On Parade In Parede CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "Early Wayne: Explorations of Classic Wayne Shorter Compositions" CD/LP/Track Review Early Wayne: Explorations of Classic Wayne Shorter...
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 26, 2016
Read "Gratified Never Satisfied" CD/LP/Track Review Gratified Never Satisfied
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 16, 2017
Read "Nakedonia" CD/LP/Track Review Nakedonia
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 25, 2016
Read "Xabregas 10" CD/LP/Track Review Xabregas 10
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "Swan Song" CD/LP/Track Review Swan Song
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 17, 2016
Read "Like, Strange" CD/LP/Track Review Like, Strange
by Troy Collins
Published: April 5, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.