Mike Clark was born on October 3, 1946 in Sacramento, California. Most noted for playing in the Headhunters band headed up by Herbie Hancock since the mid-1970s. His performance on Hancock’s 1974 Thrust album and particularly the song “Actual Proof”, is often cited as one of the finest examples of the linear funk style of drumming.
Clark was also a member of the UK jazz-fusion outfit Brand X alternating behind the kit with Phil Collins between 1978-80. He has performed with Chet Baker, Vince Guaraldi, Fred Wesley, Woody Shaw, Wallace Roney, Eddie Henderson, Michael Wolff, Tony Bennett, Joe Henderson and Charlie Hunter, just to name a few.
Mike is known as one of the most sampled drummers in contemporary music and his beats have appeared on records by Prince, N.W.A., De La Soul and Janet Jackson, among others.
In addition to leading his own group, jazz, funk and fusion drummer Mike Clark is currently co-leader of a two-drummer band with Lenny White and is currently co-leading and touring with The Wolff and Clark Expedition. As an educator he continues to run clinics around the world.
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John Gilmore was born on September 28, 1931. Growing up in Chicago, Illinois he played clarinet from the age of 14 and took up the tenor saxophone while serving in the United States Air Force from 1948 to 1952. He then pursued a musical career, playing briefly with pianist Earl Hines before encountering Sun Ra in 1953.
For the next four decades, he recorded and performed almost exclusively with Sun Ra. This was puzzling to some, who noted Gilmore’s talent, and thought he could be a major star like John Coltrane or Sonny Rollins. Despite being five years older than Gilmore, Coltrane was impressed with his playing, and took informal lessons from him in the late 1950s. His epochal, proto-free jazz “Chasin’ the Trane” was inspired partly by Gilmore’s sound.
In 1957 he co-led with Clifford Jordan a hard bop Blue Note date Blowing In from Chicago with Horace Silver, Curly Russell and Art Blakey providing the rhythm section. In the mid-1960s John toured with the Jazz Messengers and participated in recording sessions with Paul Bley, Andrew Hill, Pete La Roca, McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard, Elmo Hope, Phil Upchurch and others. By 1970 he was co-leading a recording with Jamaican trumpeter Dizzy Reece. Throughout his years of playing he mainly focused on the avant-garde with the Sun Ra Arkestra.
Gilmore’s devotion to Sun Ra was due, in part, to the latter’s use of harmony which he considered both unique and a logical extension of bebop. He occasionally doubled on drums and also played bass clarinet until Sun Ra hired Robert Cummings as a clarinet specialist in the mid-1950s. However, the tenor saxophonist made a huge contribution to Sun Ra’s recordings and was the Arkestra’s leading sideman, being given solos on almost every track on which he appeared.
John is known for his straight ahead post-bop running changes and fluency with a rhythmic and motive approach in addition to his long passages based exclusively on high-register squeals in the more abstract. His fame shrouded in the relative anonymity of Sun Ra’s Arkestra membership, his straight ahead post-bop talents are exemplified in his solo on the Arkestra’s rendition of “Blue Lou,” as seen on Mystery, Mr. Ra. Avant-garde tenor saxophonist John Gilmore led the Arkestra for a few years after SunRa’s death and up until his own of August 19, 1995.
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Jeremy Steig was born September 23, 1942 in New York City in Greenwich Village. He studied flute in his childhood but at nineteen a motorcycle accident left him paralyzed on side and for some years afterward, he played the flute with the help of a special mouthpiece.
Starting in mainstream jazz Jeremy recorded with Bill Evans and Denny Zeitlin and then became an early force in the jazz-rock fusion experiments of the late Sixties and early 70s. He record Energy with Warren Bernhardt, Eddie Gomez and Adrian Guiliary, with a reissue of additional material featuring Jan Hammer and Gomez.
He has played flute on Peter Walker’s Rainy Day Raga, has been sampled by the Beastie Boys, performed the role of The Pied Piper in the film Shrek Forever After. He has recorded 29 albums as a leader and has performed and/or recorded with Walter Bishop Jr., Tommy Bolin, Hank Crawford, Art, Farmer, Urbie Green, Idris Muhammad, Lalo Schifrin, Johnny Winter and Paul Winter.
Flautist Jeremy Steig, who plays the entire battery of the flute family of instruments from piccolo to bass flute continues to perform, record, compose and tour.
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Henry Butler was born September 21, 1949 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Blinded by glaucoma in infancy and his musical training began at the Louisiana State School for the Blind, where he learned to play valve trombone, baritone horn and drums before focusing his talents on singing and piano,
Butler was mentored at Southern University in Baton Rouge by clarinetist and educator Alvin Batiste. He later earned a master’s degree in music at Michigan State University in 1974, receiving the MSU Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009.
Due to the devastation of his home and his vintage 1925 Mason & Hamlin piano by Hurricane Katrina, Henry moved to first Boulder then Denver, Colorado but by 2009 he relocated to New York City. He has pursued photography as a hobby since 1984,and his methods and photos are featured in a 2010 HBO2 documentary, Dark Light: The Art of Blind Photographers, that aired. His photographs also have been shown in galleries in New Orleans.
Pianist Henry Butler has recorded and released nine albums as a leader for Impulse, Windham Hill and Basin Street Records and as a sideman with James Carter and Corey Harris. He joins the lineage of Crescent City pianists like Professor Longhair, James Booker, Tuts Washington and Jelly Roll Morton. He continues to perform and record in a variety of styles of music.
Larry Goldings was born August 28, 1968 in Boston, Massachusetts and studied classical piano until the age of twelve. While in high school at Concord Academy his primary influences were Erroll Garner, Oscar Peterson, Dave McKenna, Red Garland and Bill Evans. As a young teenager, Larry studied privately with Ran Blake and Keith Jarrett.
Goldings moved to New York in 1986 to attend a newly formed jazz program under the leadership of Arnie Lawrence at The New School. During college he studied piano with Jaki Byard and Fred Hersch. While still a freshman, Sir Roland Hanna invited him to accompany him to a three-day private jazz party in Copenhagen. While there, he met Sarah Vaughan, Kenny Biurrell, Tommy Flanagan and Hank Jones and had the opportunity to play in the band with Vaughan, Harry Sweets Edison and Al Cohn.
As a college student, Larry embarked on a worldwide tour with Jon Hendricks, working with him for a year. A collaboration lasting almost three years with guitarist Jim Hall followed. By 1988 he began developing his organ chops and secured a regular gig at Augie’s Jazz Bar, now Smoke on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. He was featured with several bands, and his own trio with guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Bill Stewart got its start there.
His first release was Intimacy Of The Blues in 1991 followed by sixteen more albums as a leader and has appeared as a sideman on hundreds of recordings. Over the course of his career, Goldings distinctive keyboard sound has been sought out more and more by pop, R&B, Brazilian, and alternative artists, such as, Madeleine Peyroux, John Scofield, Carla Bley, Michael Brecker, De La Soul, India Arie, Tracy Chapman, Pat Metheny, Dave Grusin, Norah Jones, John Mayer, Sia, John Pizzarelli, Steve Gadd, Rickie Lee Jones, Jack DeJohnette, Luciana Souza, and the list goes on and on.
In 2007, Larry, DeJohnnette and Scofield captured a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Instrumental Album Individual or Group for their live album, Trio Beyond – Saudades. He has been twice awarded Best Organist/Keyboardist of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association, and twice Best Jazz Album for Awareness and Big Stuff by the New Yorker Magazine.
As a composer his music has been used in the films Space Cowboys, Proof and Funny People. Brecker, Scofield, DeJohnette, Hall, Sia, Toots Thielemans, Curtis Stigers, James Taylor and Jane Monheit among others have recorded his compositions. Organist and keyboardist Larry Goldings continues to perform, record, tour and compose.