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Kenny Clarke

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

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. 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. 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. 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. He stayed in New York between 1951 and 1956, performing with the Modern Jazz Quartet and playing on early Miles Davis recordings. 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. He continued to perform and record until the month before he died of a heart attack in January 1985.

Birth and Death Data: Born January 9, 1914 (Pittsburgh), Died January 26, 1985 (Montreuil)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1937 - 1956

Roles Represented in DAHR: drums, vibraphone, leader, composer

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 85 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-046832 10-in. 2/5/1940 Indian summer Sidney Bechet ; New Orleans Feetwarmers Jazz/dance quintet instrumentalist, drums  
Victor BS-046833 10-in. 2/5/1940 One o'clock jump Sidney Bechet ; New Orleans Feetwarmers Jazz/dance quintet instrumentalist, drums  
Victor BS-046834 10-in. 2/5/1940 Preachin' blues Sidney Bechet ; New Orleans Feetwarmers Jazz/dance quintet, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, drums  
Victor BS-046835 10-in. 2/5/1940 Sidney's blues Sidney Bechet ; New Orleans Feetwarmers Jazz/dance quintet instrumentalist, drums  
Victor D6VB-2792 10-in. 9/5/1946 Epistrophy 52nd Street Boys ; Kenny Clarke Jazz/dance ensemble instrumentalist, drums, composer, leader  
Victor D6VB-2795 10-in. 9/5/1946 Royal roost 52nd Street Boys ; Kenny Clarke Jazz/dance ensemble instrumentalist, drums, leader, composer  
Columbia 28617 10-in. 9/12/1940 I'm all for you Billie Holiday Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, drums  
Columbia 28618 10-in. 9/12/1940 I hear music Billie Holiday Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, drums  
Columbia 28619 10-in. 9/12/1940 The same old story Billie Holiday Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, drums  
Columbia 28620 10-in. 9/12/1940 Practice makes perfect Billie Holiday Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, drums  
Columbia 29987 10-in. 3/21/1941 Let's do it Eddie Heywood Orchestra ; Billie Holiday Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, drums  
Columbia 29988 10-in. 3/21/1941 Georgia on my mind Eddie Heywood Orchestra ; Billie Holiday Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, drums  
Columbia 29989 10-in. 3/21/1941 Romance in the dark Eddie Heywood Orchestra ; Billie Holiday Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, drums  
Columbia 29990 10-in. 3/21/1941 All of me Eddie Heywood Orchestra ; Billie Holiday Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, drums  
Decca 62217 10-in. 5/25/1937 Caravan Edgar Hayes Orchestra instrumentalist, drums  
Decca 62218 10-in. 5/25/1937 Edgar steps out Edgar Hayes Orchestra instrumentalist, drums  
Decca 62219 10-in. 5/25/1937 Laughing at life Edgar Hayes Orchestra instrumentalist, drums  
Decca 62220 10-in. 5/25/1937 Stomping at the Renny Edgar Hayes Orchestra instrumentalist, drums  
Decca 62450 10-in. 7/27/1937 Laughing at life Edgar Hayes Orchestra instrumentalist, drums  
Decca 62451 10-in. 7/27/1937 High, wide and handsome Edgar Hayes Orchestra instrumentalist, drums  
Decca 62452 10-in. 7/27/1937 Satan takes a holiday Edgar Hayes Orchestra instrumentalist, drums  
Decca 62573 10-in. 9/7/1937 Love me or leave me Edgar Hayes Quintet instrumentalist, drums, vibraphone  
Decca 62574 10-in. 9/7/1937 Blue skies Edgar Hayes Quintet instrumentalist, drums, vibraphone  
Decca 62575 10-in. 9/7/1937 So rare Edgar Hayes Quintet instrumentalist, drums, vibraphone  
Decca 62675 10-in. 10/11/1937 Queen Isabella Edgar Hayes Orchestra instrumentalist, drums  
(Results 1-25 of 85 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Clarke, Kenny," accessed May 26, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103158.

Clarke, Kenny. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103158.

"Clarke, Kenny." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 26 May 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103158

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