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Mike Clark
Mike Clark (musician).jpg
Background information
Birth nameMichael Jeffrey Clark
Born (1946-10-03) October 3, 1946 (age 76)
Sacramento, California, U.S.
Years active1970s–present
LabelsRopeadope Records, Talking House Records, Sony, Random Acts, P-Vine, Owl Studios

Michael Jeffrey Clark (born October 3, 1946) is an American drummer. He gained worldwide recognition as one of America's foremost jazz and funk drummers while playing with Herbie Hancock in the early 1970s. His incisive playing on Hancock's Actual Proof garnered him an international cult following and influenced generations of drummers throughout the world.[1][2]

Clark was born in Sacramento, California, United States. He traveled around the country with his father, a drummer himself and a union man for the railroad.[2] His dad had a great appreciation for jazz and blues music, and Mike absorbed the music of America while riding the rails. He credits this exposure as forming the foundation for his ability to synthesize many different regional styles. From age 4, he was a prodigy, sitting in - and getting "house"- with bands in Texas and New Orleans. By the time he reached his early twenties he was known as one of the founders of the distinctive East Bay Sound coming out of Oakland, California.[3]

Mike has performed with such well-known jazz greats as Herbie Hancock,[4][5][6] Christian McBride, Chet Baker, John Scofield, Nicholas Payton, Tony Bennett, Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, Eddie Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Vince Guaraldi, Woody Shaw, Donald Harrison, Albert King, Larry Coryell, Michael Wolff, Wallace Roney, Billy Childs, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Chris Potter, Bobby McFerrin, Nat Adderley, Oscar Brown Jr., and Gil Evans and his orchestra.[5]

His album Blueprints of Jazz, Vol. 1 (Talking House Records, 2008) was widely praised by critics and in 2010 was named by DownBeat magazine as one of the best albums of the decade.[7] The album is part of the Blueprints of Jazz series conceived, produced and recorded by Talking House Productions[8] with an aim to expose the histories and current work of important but often lesser-known jazz players who had contributed to the sounds of jazz legends from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. Production and recording of the albums was helmed by Talking House producers Marc Weibel and Stephen Smith.[9][10][11][12]

His latest recordings include "Retro Report" with Delbert Bump on Rope-a-Dope label,[13] "Life Cycle" with Mark Sherman, Chase Baird, and Felix Pastorius, also on Rope-a-Dope;[14] Eddie Henderson's "Be Cool" on the Smoke label;[15] Charnett Moffett's "Music from Our Soul" on Motima;[16] and "Indigo Blue: Live at the Iridium"[17] with Christian McBride, Donald Harrison, Rob Dixon, Randy Brecker, and Antonio Farao on Highnote.[18]

Clark endorses DW drums, Istanbul Agop cymbals, Evans drumheads, and Innovative Percussion drumsticks. He has played Remo drumheads, Vic Firth drumsticks, Zildjian cymbals, and Paiste cymbals in the past.


Year Artist Title Label
1974 Herbie Hancock Thrust Columbia
1974 Herbie Hancock Death Wish Columbia
1974 Betty Davis They Say I'm Different Just Sunshine
1975 Herbie Hancock Man-Child Columbia
1975 Herbie Hancock Flood CBS/Sony [Japan]
1975 The Headhunters Survival of the Fittest Arista
1976 Eddie Henderson Heritage Blue Note
1976 Alphonso Johnson Yesterday's Dreams Epic
1977 The Headhunters Straight From the Gate Arista
1979 Brand X Product Passport
1979 Brand X Do They Hurt? Passport
1981 Jack Walrath Group (with Ricky Ford) Revenge of the Fat People Stash
1983 Jack Walrath Quintet Jack Walrath Quintet at Umbria Jazz Festival, Vol. 1 Red Records
1983 Jack Walrath Quintet Jack Walrath Quintet at Umbria Jazz Festival, Vol. 2 Red Records
1984 Percy Jones Ensemble Propeller Music Hot Wire [Germany]
1989 Mike Clark Sextet (with Ricky Ford, Jack Walrath) Give the Drummer Some Stash
1989 Jack Wilkins Trio Call Him Reckless MusicMasters/BMG
1991 Jack Wilkins Alien Army MusicMasters/BMG
1992 Mike Clark & Paul Jackson (with Kenny Garrett) The Funk Stops Here Tiptoe/Enja
1992 Suzanne Pittson Blues and the Abstract Truth Vineland
1993 Mike Clark Group Jim Payne's New York Funk! Vol. 1 Gramavision
1994 Marc Puricelli Melting Point MusicMasters/BMG
1995 Mike Clark The Headhunter: Master Drummers, Volume Three Ubiquity
1995 Marc Puricelli Shade MusicMasters/BMG
1996 Dave Ellis Raven Monarch
1997 Henry "The Skipper" Franklin (with Phil Vieux, Marc Seales) The Hunter Resurgent Music
1998 The Headhunters Return of the Headhunters! Hancock/Verve Forecast
1999 John Tank Quartet Canadian Sunset TCB Records
1999 Mike Clark (with Billy Childs, Chris Potter) Summertime JazzKey Music
2000 Mike Clark Actual Proof Platform
2001 Mike Clark / Paul Jackson / Marc Wagnon Conjunction Buckyball
2003 The Headhunters Evolution Revolution Basin Street
2003 The Mackrosoft 1st Mack to the Moon Mackrosoft
2003 The Mackrosoft Life Imitates Clouds Mackrosoft
2003 George Pajon, Jr. Fried Plantains Kufala Recordings
2004 Michael Wolff & Impure Thoughts Dangerous Vision Artemis
2004 Reuben Wilson Fun House Savant
2005 Rebecca Barry and the Headunters Rebecca Barry and the Headunters Rebecca Barry Productions
2005 The Mackrosoft Antonio's Giraffe Mackrosoft
2008 Mike Clark Blueprints of Jazz, Vol. 1 Talking House Records
2006 Michael Wolff Love and Destruction Wrong Records
2007 Tony Adamo Straight Up Deal UrbanZone
2007 Jerry Stucker It's All a Groove UrbanZone
2008 The Headhunters On Top: Live in Europe BHM Productions
2009 Mike Clark's Prescription Renewal (with Fred Wesley, Skerik, Robert Walter, Charlie Hunter) Live at the Fox Theatre P-Vine [Japan]
2010 Mike Clark Carnival of Soul Owl Studios
2011 The Headhunters Platinum Owl Studios
2013 Michael Wolff / Mike Clark Wolff & Clark Expedition Random Act
2013 Jeff Berlin Low Standards Random Act
2013 Tony Adamo Miles of Blu Random Act
2013 Chester "CT" Thompson Mixology Doodlin' Records
2015 Michael Wolff / Mike Clark Wolff & Clark Expedition 2 Random Act
2015 Mike Clark / Gaetano Letizia / Wilbur Krebs Froggy & the Toads Letizia Music
2015 Tony Adamo & the New York Crew Tony Adamo & the New York Crew UrbanZone
2015 Jerry Weldon On the Move! Doodlin' Records
2016 Dylan Taylor (with Larry Coryell) One in Mind Blujazz Productions
2017 Charnett Moffett Music From Our Soul Motéma Music
2017 Mike Clark & Delbert Bump (with Elias Lucero) Retro Report Ropeadope
2018 Eddie Henderson (with Donald Harrison, Kenny Barron) Be Cool Smoke Sessions
2018 Venture (Mike Clark, Mark Sherman, Chase Baird, Felix Pastorius) Life Cycle Ropeadope
2018 Tony Adamo Was Out Jazz Zone Mad Ropeadope
2018 Rob Dixon Trio (with Charlie Hunter) Coast to Crossroads Rob Dixon Productions
2019 Mike Clark (with Christian McBride, Donald Harrison, Randy Brecker) Indigo Blue: Live at the Iridium Ropeadope
2019 DSC (Leon Lee Dorsey, Greg Skaff, Mike Clark) Monk Time Jazz Avenue 1
2020 Eddie Henderson (with Donald Harrison, Kenny Barron) Shuffle and Deal Smoke Sessions
2020 Wolff / Clark / Dorsey (Michael Wolff, Mike Clark, Leon Lee Dorsey) Play Sgt. Pepper Jazz Avenue 1
2021 Michael Wolff (with Mark Isham, Mike Clark, John B. Williams) Live @ Vitellos Sunnyside
2021 Leon Lee Dorsey (with Harold Mabern, Mike Clark) Thank You Mr. Mabern Jazz Avenue 1
2021 Mike Clark & Michael Zilber Mike Drop Sunnyside
2021 Leon Lee Dorsey (with Manuel Valera, Mike Clark) Freedom Jazz Dance Jazz Avenue 1
2022 Mike Clark & Leon Lee Dorsey (with Mike LeDonne) Blues on Top Jazz Avenue 1
2022 The Headhunters Speakers in the House Ropeadope


  1. ^ "Mike Clark Songs, Albums, Reviews, Bio & More". AllMusic. Retrieved 2022-05-11.
  2. ^ a b "Mike Clark: The Double-Edged Sword Called Funk - JazzTimes". Archived from the original on 2018-08-26. Retrieved 2018-03-10.
  3. ^ "Mike Clark finally back in Bay Area for series of shows". 2 February 2017. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  4. ^ Harrington, Richard (2 March 2001). "Mike Clark Actual Proof". The Washington Post. Retrieved 11 May 2022.
  5. ^ a b "Bio". Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  6. ^ Soergel, Brian. "Mike Clark: Actual Proof". JazzTimes. Retrieved 2022-05-11.
  7. ^ "DownBeat | Digital Edition | January 2010". Retrieved 2022-08-10.
  8. ^ "Talking House Productions | Inspired Music Creation and Development". 2009-02-06. Archived from the original on 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2022-08-10.
  9. ^ Mike Clark - Blueprints of Jazz, Vol. 1 Album Reviews, Songs & More | AllMusic, retrieved 2022-08-10
  10. ^ "Mike Clark, Billy Harper, Donald Bailey: Blueprints of Jazz". 2008-12-20. Archived from the original on 2008-12-20. Retrieved 2022-08-10.
  11. ^ Milkowski, Bill. "Mike Clark: Blueprints of Jazz, Vol. 1". JazzTimes. Retrieved 2022-08-10.
  12. ^ " | Reviews". 2009-08-31. Archived from the original on 2009-08-31. Retrieved 2022-08-10.
  13. ^ "Mike Clark & Delbert Bump — ropeadope". Archived from the original on 2018-03-10. Retrieved 2018-03-10.
  14. ^ [1][dead link]
  15. ^ "Trumpeter Eddie Henderson to Release New Album "Be Cool" on May 4th, 2018". 20 February 2018. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  16. ^ "Charnett Moffett - Music From Our Soul (2017, CD)". Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  17. ^ Mike Clark, Indigo Blue (Live at Iridium). Review by Alex Henderson, NYCJR, October 2019, Issue 210, page 35 - retrieved 2 October 2019.
  18. ^ "Drummer Mike Clark to Record Live Album - JazzTimes". Archived from the original on 2018-03-10. Retrieved 2018-03-10.