Drummer and composer, Scott Clark keeps time in the balance. His performances behind the kit are generous and empathetic, establishing his voice immediately upon striking the surface. It is rare to find art that is both formally rigorous and aesthetically vital, but Clark thrives in this project, engineering frameworks for lucid, active songs, drawing on the performances of his collaborators and the weight of his subject matter. A series of jazz suites have emerged from the study of his own Native ancestry, beginning with Bury My Heart (2016) written in response to Dee Brown’s book of the same title, and continuing with ToNow (2018) written as a contribution to the Standing Rock protests and the unlawful construction of an oil pipeline across Native land. By centering jazz in this historic and ongoing injustice, Clark pulls together a deeply American artform and a deeply American tragedy, yet his project never feels weighed down by its sense of purpose. Protest music that is lucid and nourishing, a rhythmic shape of restless assurance.
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