Spencer Clark

Spencer W. Clark (March 15, 1908 – May 27, 1998) was an American jazz bass saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist. In addition to bass saxophone, Clark was also competent on mandolin, cornet, trumpet, clarinet, alto and tenor saxes, guitar, xylophone, and string bass, as well as an occasional vocalist.

His first professional experience was on saxophone in a New Rochelle, New York ensemble in 1923. In 1925-26 he subbed for Adrian Rollini in the California Ramblers on record and in movie palaces. He also played with Joe Tenner and George Carhart in the middle of the decade. He accompanied Carhart on an ocean liner gig in an orchestra which included Bud Freeman and Babe Russin.

While in Europe, he played with Danny Polo, Julian Fuhs, french bandleader Ray Ventura and Lud Gluskin. His many recordings with both Ventura and Gluskin in 1929-'30 established Clark as a highly original soloist on his neglected instrument.

Clark returned to New York City in 1931, where he played with Will Osborne, Bert Lown, and Fred Waring, then joined Ozzie Nelson's band as third trumpeter. His last big band gig was with Dick Stabile's orchestra in the late 1930s, where his bass sax anchored a saxophone sextet led by Stabile (which did not record). Clark, who had become a competent choral singer during his days with Waring, also formed part of Tommy Dorsey's original Pied Pipers, a vocal octet that was soon reduced to a quartet.

After the 1930s music became a secondary profession for Clark, who worked for a newspaper, in the airline industry, and as a land purchasing consultant for Highland Park, Illinois. He played with Freddie Wacker's Windy City Seven from 1954, and recorded with them in 1957. Clark continued to perform into the 1970s, when he played Adrian Rollini's role in a re-creation album of Joe Venuti's Blue Four. He retired later in the 1970s to North Carolina; he continued to play there locally in a trio with his wife, Mary Clark.

Birth and Death Data: Born March 15th, 1908, Died May 27th, 1998

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1936 - 1938

Roles Represented in DAHR: string bass, trumpet

Notes: Mandolin, marimba, clarinet, saxophone, drum, trumpet, vibraphone and bass player.

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-03557 10-in. 12/10/1936 I love you from coast to coast Dick Stabile Orchestra ; Billie Trask Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, string bass  
Victor BS-03558 10-in. 12/10/1936 The Cuban cabby Dick Stabile Orchestra ; Burt Shaw Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, string bass  
Victor BS-03559 10-in. 12/10/1936 Summer night Dick Stabile Orchestra ; Burt Shaw Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, string bass  
Victor BS-03560 10-in. 12/10/1936 A thousand dreams of you Dick Stabile Orchestra ; Frank Fleming Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, string bass  
Victor BS-03561 10-in. 12/10/1936 Gone Dick Stabile Orchestra ; Burt Shaw Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, string bass  
Victor BS-03562 10-in. 12/10/1936 Goodnight medley Dick Stabile Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, string bass  
Victor BS-018129 10-in. 1/10/1938 Moments like this Dick Stabile Orchestra ; Burt Shaw Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, trumpet  
Victor BS-018130 10-in. 1/10/1938 In the shade of the new apple tree Dick Stabile Orchestra ; Paula Kelly Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, trumpet  
Victor BS-018131 10-in. 1/10/1938 I simply adore you Dick Stabile Orchestra ; Burt Shaw Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, trumpet  
Victor BS-018132 10-in. 1/10/1938 In old Chicago Dick Stabile Orchestra ; Burt Shaw Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, trumpet  
Victor BS-018133 10-in. 1/10/1938 Lost in the shuffle Dick Stabile Orchestra ; Paula Kelly Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, trumpet  
Victor BS-018134 10-in. 1/10/1938 My first impression of you Dick Stabile Orchestra ; Paula Kelly Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, trumpet  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Clark, Spencer," accessed October 22, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/112192.

Clark, Spencer. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 22, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/112192.

"Clark, Spencer." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 22 October 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/112192

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