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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Pete Zimmer was born on September 18, 1977 and raised in Waukesha, Wisconsin. He studied at Northern Illinois University and the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. At the Conservatory while earning his bachelor degree he apprenticed under Danilo Perez, Cecil McBee, George Garzone, Bob Moses, Jerry Bergonzi and Bob Brookmeyer.
By 2004, Pete launched his record label, Tippin’ Records, and released his first leader album, Common Man, and has since produced and released three more as a bandleader and composer, Burnin’ Live at the Jazz Standard, Judgment, Chillin’ Live @ Jazz Factory and Prime of Life.
Pete has performed and recorded with George Garzone, Joel Frahm, Jeremy Pelt, Peter Bernstein, Michael Rodriguez, Rodney Jones, Jerry Weldon, Dennis Irwin, David Wong, Akiko Tsuruga, Rick Germanson, Anthony Wonsey, Randy Napoleon, Michael Karn, Julius Tolentino, Gene Perla, Tom Kennedy, Wayne Escoffery, Jaleel Shaw, Dan Nimmer, and many others.
Since 2005 Zimmer has led his group at many of the famous venues in New York City as well as touring much of the U.S.A. and also the United Kingdom. A highly regarded educator he conducts clinics at many collegiate jazz study programs and has been a faculty member at the New York Jazz Academy since 2009. Drummer, bandleader, sideman, composer, educator, and record label entrepreneur Pete Zimmer continues to pursue his jazz career.
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Leon Parker was born August 21, 1965 in White Plains, New York. He studied drums from age 11 and had classical training in his teens. He went on to study jazz under the tutelage of Barry Harris.
Leon made his recording debut with Harvie S and released his debut as a leader in 1994 with Above & Below on the Epicure label. Since then he has released three more projects and his 1998 album, Awakening, rose to #20 on the Billboard list of Top Jazz Albums.
Parker has collaborated on and recorded a du project with Charlie Hunter titled Duo, recorded with Dewey and Joshua Redman, Jesse Davis, MTB comprised of Brad Mehldau, Mark Turner and Per Bernstein, Jacky Terrasson, Don Braden, Franck Amsallem, Virgina Mathew, James Carter, Giovanni Mirabassi and Gianiuca Renzi,
Jazz percussionist and composer Leon Parker continues to perform, record and tour often playing with a minimalist drum kits, sometimes consisting of only one cymbal.
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Stix Hooper was born Nesbert Hooper on August 15, 1938 in Houston, Texas. He developed an interest in music, drums and percussion at a very early age and starting in junior high, under the direction of George Magruder, the school’s band director, he began devoting much of his time to the study of all aspects of music including composition and song writing.
Studying at Phyllis Wheatley High School, spearheaded by band director, Sammy Harris, Stix eventually formed a band called the Swingsters, later on the Modern Jazz Sextet. While matriculating at Texas Southern University he received continual coaching from members of the Houston Symphony Orchestra and other local professional musicians.
A move to the West Coast, he studied music at California State University, Los Angeles and also received coaching from well-known private instructors and his personal mentors. During this time the Jazz Crusaders were formed eventually becoming the Crusaders, a world-renowned entity.
Hooper has performed, collaborated, composed with and produced for a wide range of music greats, including Arthur Fielder, George Shearing, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London, B.B. King, Grant Green, Grover Washington, Jr., Quincy Jones, Marvin Gaye, Nancy Wilson, The Rolling Stones and numerous others.
He is credited with creating an original style of drumming called “Jazz Funk” that has been incorporated in jazz as well as other musical genres. In addition, Stix Hooper has contributed through his work with the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences serving as the National Vice Chairman and the first African American to do so, having previously served three terms as President of the Los Angeles Chapter of NARAS, the first ever three term President, and only the second African American President of that chapter.
Among the numerous acknowledgements and accolades he has garnered are 12 Grammy nominations, No. 1 awards from various music media, named one of the top drummers/musicians by Down Beat, Playboy and other publications, and has received an invitation to the White House, keys to major US cities and several international honors. Soul jazz, jazz funk and mainstream drummer Stix Hooper continues to compose, perform, record and tour.
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Billy Kilson was born William Earl Kilson on August 2, 1962 in Washington, DC. He started on trumpet at ten, switched to trombone at 11, then to drums at 16. He studied at the Berklee College of Music from 1980 to 1985, took private lessons from Alan Dawson during 1982-89, and then toured Europe with Walter Davis.
Kilson has played with such notable jazz musicians as Ahmad Jamal, Dianne Reeves, Greg Osby, George Duke, Steps Ahead, Tim Hagans, Terumasa Hino, Bob James, Dave Bob Belden, Kevin Mahogany, Kirk Whalum, Chris Botti, Freddie Jackson, Donald Brown and Paula Cole.
He is perhaps best known for his work with Dave Holland playing on the 1999 Grammy Award nominated album Prime Directive and his Grammy-winning 2002 release What Goes Around. He also has chops as a leader with his own quartet ensemble along comprised of James Genus and Tim Hagans. Releasing his debut compact disc in 2006 as a leader, titled Pots and Pans, it was followed by a sophomore DVD project, Rhythm Dancer, in 2012. Drummer Billy Kilson continues to record, perform and tour.
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