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ALBUM REVIEWS

Mike Clark: Indigo Blue Live at the Iridium

Read "Indigo Blue Live at the Iridium" reviewed by Phillip Woolever

Mike Clark has basically spent the entire seven decades of his life keeping the beat, including over fifty years of drumming with the best musicians in the business. Thus it should be no surprise that this project features a quintet that measures up to damn near anybody. Many aficionados share the opinion that live jazz is the art form's ultimate format. This assembly of awesome action makes that position hard to dispute, with a powerful performance package in ...

INTERVIEWS

Mike Clark: East Bay Funk

Read "Mike Clark: East Bay Funk" reviewed by George Colligan

[ Editor's Note: The following interview is reprinted from George Colligan's blog, Jazztruth]I remember the first time I heard the classic Herbie Hancock album Thrust (Columbia, 1974). It was on the radio, if you can believe it. The song “Actual Proof" burned into my brain: I had been a fan of Herbie's, especially of the Headhunters, of songs like “Chameleon" and “Watermelon Man," but this was different. It was so electrifying, so ultra-sophisticated, so mesmerizing. It was a ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Mike Clark: Blueprints of Jazz, Vol. 1

Read "Blueprints of Jazz, Vol. 1" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Mike Clark: Blueprints of Jazz, Volume 1

Read "Blueprints of Jazz, Volume 1" reviewed by Elliott Simon

For their Blueprints of Jazz series, Talking House Records decided to give free studio reign to individuals who have significantly influenced modern jazz but, for whatever reason, have not been given their due. Drummer Mike Clark has influenced several generations since his time with keyboardist Herbie Hancock's Headhunters and inaugurated the series. While additional releases showcase tenor saxophonist Billy Harper and drummer Donald Bailey, Clark was the first to be given the heady opportunity to handpick a band to construct ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Mike Clark at the Douglas Beach House

Read "Mike Clark at the Douglas Beach House" reviewed by Bill Leikam

Mike ClarkDouglas Beach HouseHalf 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 ...

Drummer Mike Clark

Read "Drummer Mike Clark" reviewed by Peter Madsen

If you have a natural inclination toward the blues like I do, it will well up inside your life and pour out of your soul when the groove really hits. A really great blues can cripple you. For me, this is the big payoff. This is why most of us are still playing. That feeling is what we live for. It puts tears in your eyes, sends chills up your back, curls up your toes and tickles your funny bone. ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Mike Clark: Summertime

Read "Summertime" reviewed by Riel Lazarus

It's safe to say that drummer Mike Clark is most commonly associated with funk. Since his days as a member of Herbie Hancock's legendary Headhunters, Clark has been considered one of the foremost trapsmen of the genre. But funk is only a small part of what this veteran artist is capable of, and Summertime may finally spell the end to this unfortunate pigeonholing. As evidenced by his appearance last month at the Blue Note, Clark is every ...

INTERVIEWS

A Fireside Chat With Mike Clark

Read "A Fireside Chat With Mike Clark" reviewed by AAJ Staff

When I was a kid, most my age were tuning in to watch Tootie and Blair on The Facts of Life or Gary Coleman say “Whatcha talkin' bout Willis." I would run home from school to catch What's Happening. Not only was the theme song funky, but Rerun (the best character ever on TV) was a dancing machine. And Rerun only got his groove on to the funk. This brings me to a Herbie Hancock record, Thrust, that opens with ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Mike Clark: Summertime

Read "Summertime" reviewed by Jim Santella

Pianist Billy Childs and drummer Mike Clark make a great rhythm team. Their modern mainstream journey through new originals and familiar favorites swings with a surging intensity that’s stirred gently – not shaken. It’s your daddy’s music in a new picture frame.

”Summertime,” a personal favorite, is treated to a harmonic makeover. Using darkness and mystery, a quintet with Clark, Childs, Chris Potter, Jack Walrath and James Genus presents this gem as it’s never been shown before. ...

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Mike Clark: Actual Proof

Read "Actual Proof" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

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, ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Mike Clark/Paul Jackson/Marc Wagnon: Conjunction

Read "Conjunction" reviewed by AAJ Staff

As jazz/rock fusions go, Conjunction is something special: it completely refuses to fit into either category. The arrangements are too tight and the improvisation is too sophisticated to label this disc as rock, but the grooves are so backbeat-driven that one could never call it jazz. (Make a special exception for “The Unknown Shuffle," which is quite clearly exactly what it says it is: a blues shuffle.)

Drummer Mike Clark plays a dominant role defining the group sound on Conjunction. ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Mike Clark: Actual Proof

Read "Actual Proof" reviewed by Jim Santella

Using original compositions that serve as mainstream jazz anthems, drummer Mike Clark has created a program around his taste for rhythmic drive and small band creativity. Fusion, funk and ballads sit under the umbrella of Clark’s design; however, they’re tempered with tradition. Fluid trumpet and tenor saxophone solos grace “The Viper" accompanied by just the acoustic bass and drums. It’s a lovely setting. And yet, as the title suggests, this one is full of intrigue. The band isn’t as effective ...


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