263

Mike Clark at the Douglas Beach House

Bill Leikam By

Sign in to view read count
Mike Clark
Douglas Beach House
Half Moon Bay, Calif.
Sept. 27, 2009

We all knew that when drummer Mike Clark came to the Douglas Beach House in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on Sept. 27, it was going to be a high-energy concert. This was true because coming in along with Mike were Donald Harrison on sax; Delbert Bump on Hammond B-5 organ and Steve Homan on electric guitar.

They eventually melded into a unit and presented a highly respectable show, giving the audience a lot to talk about after the evening was over. And yet, it took the quartet almost a complete set to come together as a working unit.

Although the high powered opening number—suggestive of things to come—was adequate, the band had to work too hard to find its voice. In "'Round Midnight," Clark settled back and used his trap set with a delicacy not often heard from drummers. Bump's Hammond surged to life in places. By the end of Monk's classic piece it felt as though the band had just begun to find its pace and the audience responded.

Unique to the set was a number that began with an organ and drum duo, gradually drawing in Homan's guitar. This grew into a multi-layered number with Harrison coming in on his sax, building the piece and taking it over the top. Clark's drumming was some of the finest ever played at the Beach House.

It wasn't until the second set, however, that without a doubt the band became a solid unit. Led by Donald Harrison's sax, the band's spirits shot upward as though there was nothing else left to do. Halfway through the first number, Harrison took over Clark's drums and showed that he was as competent on the drums as he was on his sax. With that, Delbert Bump soared on the Hammond, his facial expressions as wild as his fingers on the keyboard. Steve Homan is reminiscent of jazz guitarist Charlie Christian on his later recordings, with more of a rock edge to his playing. It was then that many in the audience began to move, bobbing their heads, dancing in their seats and being swept up by the music.

One of the things that stand out in Clark's musicianship is his careful and measured use of his cymbals. His tune "Loft Funk" was, overall, a hard-hitting piece although there was ample room for the delicate side of his cymbals. Everyone in the band took turns playing off of one another in a free flowing, up-beat mood. When the number was over and the uproarious applaud had ceased, Clark said, "Gonna have to play that solo again. I left a note out." He has that great humorous side to himself and it punctuated the show every-so-often.

The second set was by far the best of the concert. From raucous to mellow and everything in between Mike Clark delivered an afternoon and early evening that will stand with the audience as one of the best. Indeed many gave Clark and his band a standing ovation. On their way out from the Douglas Beach House that evening, one could hear people reflecting, talking with intensity in their voices about what they had just experienced.


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Panama Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Panama Jazz Festival 2017
by Mark Holston
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Foundation of Funk at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom Live Reviews Foundation of Funk at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
by Geoff Anderson
Published: February 20, 2017
Read The Cookers at Nighttown Live Reviews The Cookers at Nighttown
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: February 16, 2017
Read Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens Live Reviews Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Howard Riley and Keith Tippett at Pizza Express" Live Reviews Howard Riley and Keith Tippett at Pizza Express
by Duncan Heining
Published: March 25, 2016
Read "2016 Detroit Jazz Festival" Live Reviews 2016 Detroit Jazz Festival
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: September 18, 2016
Read "Kurt Elling at Bing Concert Hall" Live Reviews Kurt Elling at Bing Concert Hall
by Lily O'Brien
Published: March 7, 2016
Read "Sons of Kemet at Black Box, Belfast" Live Reviews Sons of Kemet at Black Box, Belfast
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 12, 2016
Read "Houston Person at Kiawah Island, South Carolina" Live Reviews Houston Person at Kiawah Island, South Carolina
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: January 10, 2017
Read "WOMAD 2016" Live Reviews WOMAD 2016
by Martin Longley
Published: August 15, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!