Mike Clark – Summertime

Mike Clark
(JazzKey Music – 2003)
by Ray Redmond

Known primarily as the funky drummer that held down the bottom on the landmark Herbie Hancock release Headhunters, Mike Clark is probably the most sampled drummer in the Hip-Hop world… fancy that. Well, his new release Summertime is strictly jazz. Joined by Billy Childs on piano, Summertime is a studied example of the kind of strong, straight ahead jazz that co-performers Childs and Chris Potter are known for. His take on the Gershwin classic Summertime is more choppy than we are used to, but it works that way through Clark’s dynamic drumming and some good Trumpet work by Jack Walrath. Clark must be a Wayne Shorter fan, because there are THREE Shorter tracks on this disc including the intricate Prince of Darkness. There’s also a haunting version of the rarely heard Ellington track Angelica.

Through the years Clark has performed with jazz greats such as Herbie Hancock, Chet Baker, Tony Bennett, Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw Jack Walrath, Bobby Hutcherson, Larry Coryell, Vince Guaraldi, Jack Wilkins, Bobby McFerrin, Al Jarreau, Dave Liebman, Nat Adderly, Oscar Brown Jr, Mose Allison, Gil Evans, Charlie Hunter, and did a stint with Brand X, the acclaimed British fusion band. He has performed throughout the world at all the major jazz festivals. Undoubtedly one of Jazz’ most talented drummers, Mike Clark continues to carry on the tradition by putting out good CD’s and keeping them varied.