Kenny Clarke

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For other people with similar names, see Kenneth Clark. Kenny Clarke_sentence_0

Kenny Clarke_table_infobox_0

Kenny ClarkeKenny Clarke_header_cell_0_0_0
Background informationKenny Clarke_header_cell_0_1_0
Birth nameKenny Clarke_header_cell_0_2_0 Kenneth Clarke SpearmanKenny Clarke_cell_0_2_1
BornKenny Clarke_header_cell_0_3_0 (1914-01-09)January 9, 1914Kenny Clarke_cell_0_3_1
OriginKenny Clarke_header_cell_0_4_0 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United StatesKenny Clarke_cell_0_4_1
DiedKenny Clarke_header_cell_0_5_0 January 26, 1985(1985-01-26) (aged 71)

Montreuil, FranceKenny Clarke_cell_0_5_1

GenresKenny Clarke_header_cell_0_6_0 JazzKenny Clarke_cell_0_6_1
Occupation(s)Kenny Clarke_header_cell_0_7_0 MusicianKenny Clarke_cell_0_7_1
InstrumentsKenny Clarke_header_cell_0_8_0 DrumsKenny Clarke_cell_0_8_1
Years activeKenny Clarke_header_cell_0_9_0 1931–1984Kenny Clarke_cell_0_9_1
Associated actsKenny Clarke_header_cell_0_10_0 Dizzy Gillespie, Modern Jazz Quartet, Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big BandKenny Clarke_cell_0_10_1

Kenneth Clarke Spearman (January 9, 1914 – January 26, 1985), nicknamed Klook, was an American jazz drummer and bandleader. Kenny Clarke_sentence_1

A major innovator of the bebop style of drumming, he pioneered the use of the Ride cymbal to keep time rather than the hi-hat, along with the use of the bass drum for irregular accents ("dropping bombs"). Kenny Clarke_sentence_2

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he was orphaned at the age of about five and began playing the drums when he was eight or nine on the urging of a teacher at his orphanage. Kenny Clarke_sentence_3

Turning professional in 1931 at the age of seventeen, he moved to New York City in 1935 when he began to establish his drumming style and reputation. Kenny Clarke_sentence_4

As the house drummer at Minton's Playhouse in the early 1940s, he participated in the after-hours jams that led to the birth of bebop. Kenny Clarke_sentence_5

After military service in the US and Europe between 1943 and 1946, he returned to New York, but from 1948 to 1951 he was mostly based in Paris. Kenny Clarke_sentence_6

He stayed in New York between 1951 and 1956, performing with the Modern Jazz Quartet and playing on early Miles Davis recordings. Kenny Clarke_sentence_7

He then moved permanently to Paris, where he performed and recorded with European and visiting American musicians and co-led the Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band between 1961 and 1972. Kenny Clarke_sentence_8

He continued to perform and record until the month before he died of a heart attack in January 1985. Kenny Clarke_sentence_9

Biography Kenny Clarke_section_0

Early life and career (1914–1935) Kenny Clarke_section_1

Clarke was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on January 9, 1914 as the youngest of two sons, to Martha Grace Scott, a pianist from Pittsburgh, and Charles Spearman, a trombonist from Waycross, Georgia. Kenny Clarke_sentence_10

The family home was on Wylie Avenue in the Lower Hill District of Pittsburgh. Kenny Clarke_sentence_11

Clarke's father left the household to start a new family in Yakima, Washington, and his mother, who began a relationship with a Baptist preacher shortly afterwards, died suddenly in her late twenties when Clarke was about five, leaving him an orphan. Kenny Clarke_sentence_12

He and his brother were placed in the Coleman Industrial Home for Negro Boys. Kenny Clarke_sentence_13

. Kenny Clarke_sentence_14

He played in the orphanage's marching band on the snare drum, which he had taken up on the urging of a teacher at about age eight or nine, after trying a few brass instruments. Kenny Clarke_sentence_15

When he was young he also played the piano, on which his mother had taught him to play simple tunes, along with the pump organ at the parish church, for which he played hymns and composed pieces that were introduced there. Kenny Clarke_sentence_16

At the age of eleven or twelve, he and his brother resumed living with his stepfather, who did not look favorably upon music or associating with those involved with it. Kenny Clarke_sentence_17

He dropped out of Herron Hill Junior High School at the age of fifteen to become a professional musician. Kenny Clarke_sentence_18

Around the same time, his stepfather threw Clarke and his brother out of his house after an argument, and Clarke was placed without his brother in a foster home, where he lived for about a year until his sixteenth birthday. Kenny Clarke_sentence_19

He then took on several odd jobs while establishing his music career, becoming a local professional with the Leroy Bradley Band by the age of seventeen. Kenny Clarke_sentence_20

After touring with the Roy Eldridge band through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio, he returned to Bradley's band based at the Cotton Club in Cincinnati. Kenny Clarke_sentence_21

He stayed with that band for two years, broken up by a two-month stint with the Jeter-Pillars Orchestra, which at the time included trumpeter Harry Edison and bassist Walter Page, who would go on to be featured in the Count Basie Orchestra. Kenny Clarke_sentence_22

Around this time he took up the vibraphone, with assistance from Adrian Rollini, a pioneer on the instrument. Kenny Clarke_sentence_23

Move to New York and innovations (1935–1943) Kenny Clarke_section_2

In late-1935, Clarke moved to New York City, where he dropped the surname "Spearman" to become "Kenny Clarke". Kenny Clarke_sentence_24

He doubled on drums and the vibraphone in a trio with his half-brother Frank, a bassist and guitarist who had recently moved to New York and likewise changed his surname from "Spearman" to "Clarke" to profit from Kenny's newfound fame. Kenny Clarke_sentence_25

In 1936 Clarke played alongside guitarist Freddie Green in a group fronted by tenor saxophonist Lonnie Simmons, where he began to experiment with rhythmic patterns against the basic beat of the band. Kenny Clarke_sentence_26

From April 1937 to April 1938 He was in Edgar Hayes's group, still doubling on vibraphone, where he made his recording debut and traveled overseas for the first time. Kenny Clarke_sentence_27

When he returned to the US with the band, he struck up a personal and musical friendship with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie who had been hired for the group's one-week stint at the Apollo Theater in New York. Kenny Clarke_sentence_28

In his book Drummin' Men: The Heartbeat of Jazz, music critic Burt Korall writes of this time period: "Clarke was moving beyond mere functional timekeeping. Kenny Clarke_sentence_29

He had begun to outline and emphasize ensemble, brass, and saxophone figures and to support soloists in the manner that before long would be identified as his. Kenny Clarke_sentence_30

... Kenny Clarke_sentence_31

The revision of the swing drum style had not yet become fully apparent. Kenny Clarke_sentence_32

But it was clear Clarke was working on something new." Kenny Clarke_sentence_33

He was encouraged in these endeavors by composer/arranger Joe Garland, who gave him the band's trumpet parts , and suggested that he play along with the brass when he felt it necessary to emphasize or support their lines. Kenny Clarke_sentence_34

He then spent eight months playing drums and the vibraphone in Claude Hopkins's group, before Gillespie gave Clarke an opening to join him in the Teddy Hill band in the Savoy Ballroom in 1939. Kenny Clarke_sentence_35

While playing for this group on a fast tune, he came upon the idea of using the Ride cymbal on his right hand to keep time rather than the hi-hat, an approach that freed up his left hand to play more syncopated figures. Kenny Clarke_sentence_36

On the bass drum he played irregular accents (dropping bombs), while using the hi-hat on the backbeats, adding more color to his drumming. Kenny Clarke_sentence_37

With Gillespie, who encouraged this new approach to time keeping, Clarke wrote a series of exercises for himself to develop the independence of the bass drum and snare drum, while maintaining the time on the ride cymbal. Kenny Clarke_sentence_38

One of these passages, a combination of a rimshot on the snare followed directly by a "bomb", reportedly inspired Clarke's nickname, "Klook", which was short for "Klook-mop", in imitation of the sound this combination produced. Kenny Clarke_sentence_39

At the 1939 New York World's Fair, Clarke played opposite a band led by fellow drummer Chick Webb, who strongly influenced him and encouraged his rhythmic explorations. Kenny Clarke_sentence_40

He was briefly fired from Hill's band due to unrest in the trombone section about his unorthodox time-keeping methods, but later returned and stayed with the group until it disbanded in 1940. Kenny Clarke_sentence_41

He then worked with bands led by Sidney Bechet, Ella Fitzgerald (where he and Gillespie are said to have co-written the composition "Salt Peanuts"), and Louis Armstrong, before working with Roy Eldridge once again along with the Count Basie Orchestra. Kenny Clarke_sentence_42

He also made recordings with Bechet, Fitzgerald, and Mildred Bailey. Kenny Clarke_sentence_43

In 1941, Clarke was hired by Hill, who had become the manager of Minton's Playhouse in Harlem, to handle the music at the club. Kenny Clarke_sentence_44

Clarke was given free rein over whom he could hire and which style of music he could play. Kenny Clarke_sentence_45

The house band consisted of trumpeter Joe Guy, pianist Thelonious Monk, bassist Nick Fenton, and Clarke on drums. Kenny Clarke_sentence_46

Regulars at the club included Gillespie and guitarist Charlie Christian, and bandleaders such as Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Benny Goodman listened to or participated in the sessions. Kenny Clarke_sentence_47

In his entry on Clarke in American National Biography, Barry Kernfeld wrote: "The sessions became famous for demonstrations of virtuosity—unexpected harmonies, fast tempos, unusual keys—that discouraged those whose style did not fit in well. Kenny Clarke_sentence_48

These experimental sounds were crucial to the development of bebop." Kenny Clarke_sentence_49

It was in this setting that Clarke and Monk co-wrote the jazz standard "Epistrophy", originally known as "Fly Right". Kenny Clarke_sentence_50

He then led his own band at Kelly's Stables in New York, the Kansas City Six, featuring tenor saxophonist Ike Quebec, where the two are said to have come up with the riff tune "Mop Mop", played in a septet with saxophonist Benny Carter, and performed with Red Allen's band in Boston and Chicago. Kenny Clarke_sentence_51

Military service and later career in the United States (1943–1956) Kenny Clarke_section_3

Clarke was drafted into the US Army and reported for induction in 1943. Kenny Clarke_sentence_52

During his basic training in 1944, he married singer Carmen McRae. Kenny Clarke_sentence_53

He went absent without leave for nearly four months, during which time he played with Cootie Williams and Dinah Washington, before being captured and sent to Europe. Kenny Clarke_sentence_54

he eventually became part of the Special Services where he led and sang in chorales and performed on drums, trombone, and piano in various bands. Kenny Clarke_sentence_55

While in Paris he met pianist and arranger John Lewis, with whom he began a long association. Kenny Clarke_sentence_56

Shortly after being discharged from the military in 1946, Clarke converted to Islam and took the name Liaquat Ali Salaam. Kenny Clarke_sentence_57

He joined Dizzy Gillespie's band for eight months, replacing Max Roach, who had become the most important bebop drummer in Clarke's absence. Kenny Clarke_sentence_58

Clarke introduced Lewis to the band and made several bop recordings with Gillespie's sextet including "One Bass Hit (part 1)" and "Oop Bop Sh'Bam", where his nickname was enshrined in the scat lyrics "Oop bop sh'bam a klook a mop". Kenny Clarke_sentence_59

He left Gillespie's band temporarily and worked with Tadd Dameron, Sonny Stitt, Fats Navarro, and his own 52nd Street Boys, before rejoining Gillespie's group in December 1947. Kenny Clarke_sentence_60

He embarked on a tour with the band in Europe in early 1948, which he considered the highlight of his career. Kenny Clarke_sentence_61

He stayed on in Paris until that August, recording, performing, teaching, and helping to select musicians for the First International Jazz Festival. Kenny Clarke_sentence_62

He then returned to New York for nine months to work with Dameron's group at the Royal Roost. Kenny Clarke_sentence_63

During this time he also played with bassist Oscar Pettiford's band and recorded in the second session of the Miles Davis album Birth of the Cool. Kenny Clarke_sentence_64

Also around this time, or perhaps shortly afterward, he developed an addiction to heroin that lasted until at least the 1960s. Kenny Clarke_sentence_65

In 1948 he permanently separated from McRae; they divorced in 1956. Kenny Clarke_sentence_66

In May 1949 Clarke returned to Paris for the festival, making the city his home base for the next two years. Kenny Clarke_sentence_67

While there he worked and recorded with bands led by pianist Bernard Peiffer and saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, and returned to Bechet's band. Kenny Clarke_sentence_68

At this time he met and had a brief affair with jazz singer Annie Ross, which resulted in a son, Kenny Clarke Jr. (born 1950), who was raised by Clarke's brother and his wife. Kenny Clarke_sentence_69

Upon returning to New York in 1951, he toured with Billy Eckstine, and made recordings with saxophonist Charlie Parker's quintet and Milt Jackson's quartet. Kenny Clarke_sentence_70

Jackson's ensemble, which included Clarke's friend John Lewis, became the Modern Jazz Quartet, and he performed with the group at the first Newport Jazz Festival in 1954 and recorded for their albums Modern Jazz Quartet (1952), 1953: An Exceptional Encounter (1953), and Django (1953–1955). Kenny Clarke_sentence_71

He left the ensemble in 1955, saying "I wouldn't be able to play the drums my way again after four or five years of playing eighteenth-century drawing-room jazz". Kenny Clarke_sentence_72

Korall wrote of his work in the group: Kenny Clarke_sentence_73

Between 1951 and 1954 Clarke recorded with Miles Davis, including tracks that appeared on the 1957 compilation albums Bags' Groove and Walkin', along with 1959's Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants. Kenny Clarke_sentence_74

Korall described these recordings as "his best work of the 1950s – perhaps of his entire career", writing: "Clarke follows feelings, lives inside the pulse, defining the contours, dynamics, and implications of each solo and each piece. Kenny Clarke_sentence_75

Like Dave Tough, he is a totally unselfish player – nonintrusive yet spirited and spiritual." Kenny Clarke_sentence_76

In mid-1955 he rejoined Pettiford's group at Café Bohemia, later working with him and pianist Phineas Newborn Jr. at Basin Street West and recording with Pettiford on Newborn's 1956 album Here Is Phineas. Kenny Clarke_sentence_77

During this period he was the resident drummer and a talent scout for Savoy Records, introducing the label to artists such as saxophonists Cannonball Adderley and Pepper Adams, and trumpeter Donald Byrd. Kenny Clarke_sentence_78

He often worked with recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder, who dubbed Clarke's location in his studio "Klook's corner". Kenny Clarke_sentence_79

Move to Paris and later life (1956–1985) Kenny Clarke_section_4

In September 1956, Clarke moved to Paris where he initially worked with Jacques Hélian's orchestra, before holding engagements at the Club Saint-Germain and the Blue Note. Kenny Clarke_sentence_80

He regularly worked with visiting American musicians such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Stan Getz, notably contributing with Davis to the soundtrack for Ascenseur pour l'échafaud. Kenny Clarke_sentence_81

Clarke also formed a trio, known as "The Three Bosses", with pianist Bud Powell, another Paris resident, and bassist Pierre Michelot, who had also played on the Davis soundtrack. Kenny Clarke_sentence_82

In 1963 The Three Bosses recorded the album Our Man in Paris with tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon. Kenny Clarke_sentence_83

In 1961, with Belgian pianist Francy Boland, Clarke formed the Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band, featuring leading European and expatriate American musicians. Kenny Clarke_sentence_84

It began touring in 1966 and was active until 1972. Kenny Clarke_sentence_85

Korall said of his contribution to the band: "Playing softer than most drummers in a large ensemble, feeding the surge, doing the work of the great accompanist he always had been, Clarke consistently proved flash is totally irrelevant. Kenny Clarke_sentence_86

He used just enough decoration to make the band's music, much of it with a blues base, a bit more exciting and interesting for the players and listeners." Kenny Clarke_sentence_87

In 1962 he married Daisy Wallbach, a Dutch woman, and they settled in the Paris suburb of Montreuil. Kenny Clarke_sentence_88

The couple had a son, Laurent (born 1964). Kenny Clarke_sentence_89

Clarke began a drumming school with Dante Agostini at the headquarters of the instrument maker Henri Selmer Paris in 1965, and he and Agostini spent seven years creating a drumming method. Kenny Clarke_sentence_90

In 1967, he began teaching at the Saint-Germain-en-Laye Conservatoire (where he worked until 1972). Kenny Clarke_sentence_91

He had a period of convalescence after a heart attack in 1975, before going to Chicago in September 1976 for a reunion of Gillespie's big band. Kenny Clarke_sentence_92

In 1979 he taught jazz at the University of Pittsburgh as a substitute for his friend Nathan Davis. Kenny Clarke_sentence_93

He performed in European jazz festivals until 1983 and made his last performances at a five-night-a-week engagement in December 1984. Kenny Clarke_sentence_94

On January 26, 1985, he died of a second heart attack at his home; he was 71. Kenny Clarke_sentence_95

Recognition Kenny Clarke_section_5

Clarke was made an NEA Jazz Master in 1983 and inducted into the DownBeat Jazz Hall of Fame through the Critics' Poll in 1988. Kenny Clarke_sentence_96

Discography Kenny Clarke_section_6

As leader or co-leader Kenny Clarke_section_7

Kenny Clarke_unordered_list_0

Kenny Clarke / Francy Boland Big Band (1962–1971) Kenny Clarke_sentence_97

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As sideman Kenny Clarke_section_8

With Gene Ammons Kenny Clarke_sentence_98

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With Elek Bacsik Kenny Clarke_sentence_99

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With Eddie Bert Kenny Clarke_sentence_100

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With Ray Bryant Kenny Clarke_sentence_101

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With Kenny Burrell Kenny Clarke_sentence_102

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With Donald Byrd Kenny Clarke_sentence_103

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With Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Johnny Griffin Kenny Clarke_sentence_104

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With Lee Konitz Kenny Clarke_sentence_105

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With Miles Davis Kenny Clarke_sentence_106

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With Art Farmer Kenny Clarke_sentence_107

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With Frank Foster Kenny Clarke_sentence_108

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  • No 'Count (Savoy, 1956)Kenny Clarke_item_12_30

With Dizzy Gillespie Kenny Clarke_sentence_109

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With Dexter Gordon Kenny Clarke_sentence_110

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With Johnny Griffin Kenny Clarke_sentence_111

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  • Night Lady (Philips, 1964)Kenny Clarke_item_15_37

With Urbie Green Kenny Clarke_sentence_112

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With Hampton Hawes Kenny Clarke_sentence_113

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With Milt Jackson Kenny Clarke_sentence_114

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With J. Kenny Clarke_sentence_115 J. Johnson and Kai Winding Kenny Clarke_sentence_116

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With Hank Jones Kenny Clarke_sentence_117

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With John Lewis Kenny Clarke_sentence_118

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With Carmen McRae Kenny Clarke_sentence_119

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With Charles Mingus Kenny Clarke_sentence_120

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With the Modern Jazz Quartet Kenny Clarke_sentence_121

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  • Modern Jazz Quartet (Prestige, 1952)Kenny Clarke_item_24_54
  • Django (Prestige, 1956)Kenny Clarke_item_24_55
  • 1953: An Exceptional Encounter (The Jazz Factory, 2001)Kenny Clarke_item_24_56

With Thelonious Monk Kenny Clarke_sentence_122

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With Jean-Christian Michel Kenny Clarke_sentence_123

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  • Sacred Music (1969; Barclay)Kenny Clarke_item_26_58
  • JQM (1972; General Records)Kenny Clarke_item_26_59
  • Ouverture spatiale (1974; General)Kenny Clarke_item_26_60
  • Eve des Origines (1976; General)Kenny Clarke_item_26_61
  • Port Maria (1977; General)Kenny Clarke_item_26_62

With Phineas Newborn Jr. Kenny Clarke_sentence_124

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With Sahib Shihab Kenny Clarke_sentence_125

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  • Summer Dawn (Argo, 1964)Kenny Clarke_item_28_64
  • Seeds (Vogue Schallplatten, 1968)Kenny Clarke_item_28_65
  • Companionship (Vogue Schallplatten, 1964–70 )Kenny Clarke_item_28_66

With Zoot Sims Kenny Clarke_sentence_126

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  • Lost Tapes Baden-Baden 1958 (SWR, 2014)Kenny Clarke_item_29_67

With Idrees Sulieman Kenny Clarke_sentence_127

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With Cal Tjader Kenny Clarke_sentence_128

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  • Cal Tjader: Vibist (Savoy, 1954)Kenny Clarke_item_31_69

With Julius Watkins Kenny Clarke_sentence_129

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With Frank Wess Kenny Clarke_sentence_130

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With Joe Wilder Kenny Clarke_sentence_131

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With Ernie Wilkins Kenny Clarke_sentence_132

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Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenny Clarke.