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Kenny Clarke


Kenny Clarke (born Kenneth Clarke Spearman, later aka, Liaqat Ali Salaam, on January 9, 1914 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-died January 26, 1985 in Paris, France) was a jazz drummer and an early innovator of the bebop style of drumming. As the house drummer at Minton's Playhouse in the early 1940's, he participated in the after hours jams that led to the birth of Be-Bop, which in turn lead to modern jazz.

He is credited with creating the modern role of the ride cymbal as the primary timekeeper. Before, drummers kept time on the high-hat and snare drum ("digging coal", Clarke called it) with heavy support from the bass drum. With Clarke time was played on the cymbal and the bass and snare were used more for punctuation. This led to a much more relaxed style of drumming. From this point more and more rhythms and poly-rhythms are made possible. For this, "every drummer" Ed Thigpen said, "owes him a debt of gratitude." Clarke was nicknamed "Klook" or "Klook-mop" for the style he innovated.


Freedom Weaver: The 1959 European Tour Recordings

Label: Resonance Records
Released: 2024
Track listing: St. Thomas; There Will Never Be Another You; Stay As Sweet As You Are; I've Told Ev'ry Little Star; How High The Moon; Oleo; Paul's Pal; Sonny Rollins Interview; It Don't Mean a Thing; Paul's Pal #2; Love Letters; I Remember You; I've Told Ev'ry Little Star #2; It Could Happen to You; Oleo #2; Will You Still Be Mine; I've Told Ev'ry Little Star #3; I Want to Be Happy; A Weaver of Dreams; It Don't Mean a Thing #2; Cocktails for Two; I've Told Ev'ry Little Star #4; I Want to Be Happy #2; Woody 'N' You; But Not For Me; Lady Bird.


Article: Interview

Albert "Tootie" Heath: Class Personified

Read "Albert "Tootie" Heath: Class Personified" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke

This article was first published on All About Jazz on March 9, 2015. Albert “Tootie" Heath is among the drummers who lived--and thrived--during what many call the golden age of jazz, the '40s, '50, early '60s. He's enjoyed the fruits of a varied and historic career, but never stayed put. Just kept working. He ...


Article: Journey into Jazz

Record Store Day 2024 Jazz Releases

Read "Record Store Day 2024 Jazz Releases" reviewed by Kyle Simpler

Every year, Record Store Day (RSD) promises limited edition vinyl releases for all tastes in music. From the latest popular artists to the most obscure archival releases, RSD drops try to cover a lot of musical territory. Practically all genres of music are represented and, of course, jazz is no exception. Fortunately, the April 2024 drop ...


Article: Multiple Reviews

The Jazz Detective Strikes Again

Read "The Jazz Detective Strikes Again" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Producer Zev Feldman, like Joe DiMaggio, has done it again. In May of 1941, DiMaggio began a major league baseball hitting streak. People followed his exploits game after game and hit after hit. DiMaggio's amazing record of 56 consecutive games still stands to this day. Same can be said of Feldman. His detective work, finding rare ...


Article: Liner Notes

Raul De Souza: Colors

Read "Raul De Souza: Colors" reviewed by Arnaldo DeSouteiro

Raul De Souza's life can be seen as a one-of-a-kind story. Indeed, it would make a perfect novel or film script. It may not be as big a tragedy as 'Round Midnight or Bird, but it has drama, love, adventure, and great music. Picture this: a poor child grows up in Brazil working as ...


Article: Liner Notes

Nathan Davis Quintet: The Hip Walk

Read "Nathan Davis Quintet: The Hip Walk" reviewed by Ken Dryden

There are numerous examples of talented American jazz musicians who had long careers but were overlooked by critics, broadcasters and much of the jazz audience, often because they spent decades as full time jazz educators, which limited their opportunities to tour in support of their recordings. Nathan Davis, primarily known as a tenor and soprano saxophonist, ...


Miles Davis With Tadd Dameron Revisited

Label: Ezz-thetics
Released: 2023
Track listing: At The Royal Roost : Good Bait; Focus; April In Paris; Webb’s Delight; Milano, Casbah. In Paris: Rifftide; Good Bait; Don’t Blame Me; Wha Hoo; Allen’s Alley; Embraceable You; Ornithology; All The Things You Are.


In Concert At The Olympia, Paris 1957

Label: Fresh Sound Records
Released: 2023
Track listing: Solar; Four; What's New; No Moe; Lady Bird; Tune Up; I'll Remember April; Bags' Groove; 'Round Midnight; Now's The Time; Walkin'; The Theme.


Article: Film Review

Salvation through rhythm: Max Roach—The Drum Also Waltzes

Read "Salvation through rhythm: Max Roach—The Drum Also Waltzes" reviewed by Peter Jones

Max Roach--The Drum Also Waltzes Directed by Sam Pollard and Ben Shapiro PBS American Masters2023 Anyone who enjoyed the recent Wayne Shorter documentary Zero Gravity might also dig this--a more conventionally structured but equally fascinating look at the life of Max Roach. Filmmaker and interviewer Sam Pollard began making it in ...


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