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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 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, vibraphone, drums  
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, vibraphone, drums  
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, vibraphone, drums  
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, vibraphone, drums  
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  
(Results 1-25 of 75 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Clarke, Kenny," accessed November 24, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103158.

Clarke, Kenny. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved November 24, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103158.

"Clarke, Kenny." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 24 November 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

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