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 about 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, establishing 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 between 1948 and 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 during this time. 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 9th, 1914 (Pittsburgh), Died January 26th, 1985 (Montreuil)
Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1937 - 1956
Roles Represented in DAHR: drums, vibraphone
Recordings (Results 1-25 of 75 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 ; Sonny White||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|
|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|
|Decca||62676||10-in.||10/11/1937||Old King Cole||Edgar Hayes Orchestra||instrumentalist, drums|
|Decca||62677||10-in.||10/11/1937||Shindig||Edgar Hayes Orchestra||instrumentalist, drums|
|Decca||62678||10-in.||10/11/1937||Let's love||Edgar Hayes Orchestra||instrumentalist, drums|
|Decca||62679||10-in.||10/11/1937||I know now||Edgar Hayes Quintet||instrumentalist, drums, vibraphone|
|Decca||62680||10-in.||10/11/1937||Sweetheart||Edgar Hayes Quintet||instrumentalist, drums, vibraphone|
|Decca||62681||10-in.||10/11/1937||When you and I were young, Maggie||Edgar Hayes Quintet||instrumentalist, drums, vibraphone|
|Decca||63157||10-in.||1/14/1938||Meet the band||Edgar Hayes Orchestra||instrumentalist, drums, vibraphone|
|Decca||63158||10-in.||1/14/1938||Fugitive from a harem||Edgar Hayes Orchestra||instrumentalist, drums, vibraphone|
|Decca||63159||10-in.||1/14/1938||Swingin' in the promised land||Edgar Hayes Orchestra||instrumentalist, drums, vibraphone|
|Decca||63160||10-in.||1/14/1938||Barbary Coast blues||Edgar Hayes Orchestra||instrumentalist, drums, vibraphone|
Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Clarke, Kenny," accessed September 21, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103158.
Clarke, Kenny. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved September 21, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103158.
"Clarke, Kenny." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 21 September 2021.
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