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Mike Clark
Head Hunters, Wolff & Clark Expedition
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MIKE CLARK gained worldwide recognition as one of America’s foremost Jazz and Funk drummers while playing with Herbie Hancock’s group in the early 1970’s. Mike became known as a major innovator through his incisive playing on Hancock’s Thrust album, garnering him an international cult following. Often referred to as the “Tony Williams of Funk,” Mike considers himself a Jazz drummer and has become one of the most vital players of the art form.  Says  Herbie Hancock of Mike's playing: “He’s a great jazz drummer—and he hasn’t lost any of the  stuff that he brought from Oakland. So now he’s totally free to do both, and he does. The solo  he played on the  song “Actual Proof,” is one of the best drum solos on any of my albums."

Mike has performed with many of Jazz music's greats including Chet Baker, Vince Guaraldi, Tony Bennett, Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, Eddie Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Woody Shaw, Donald Harrison, Larry Coryell, Mike Wolff, Wallace Roney, Geri Allen, Billy Childs, Bobby McFerrin, Al Jarreau, Dave Liebman, Nat Adderly, Oscar Brown Jr., Mose Allison, Gil Evans and his orchestra, and many more.

Born in Sacramento, CA, Mike traveled around the country with his father, a union man for the railroad, who was also a drummer, allowing young Mike to soak up the diverse regional music.  He was a prodigy as well, picking up his first sticks at age five and sitting in with bands in Texas and New Orleans when he was as young as 7 and 8. He continued to play in a variety of blues, R&B, organ trios, and Jazz bands, settling in Oakland, CA, until his introduction to Herbie Hancock and his recruitment into the Headhunters in 1973.

Next to James Brown's drummer Clyde Stubblefield, Mike's beats with The Headhunters - most notably on "God Make Me Funky", are some of the most sampled in Hip-Hop. He's been featured in Downbeat, Musician, International Musician & Recording World, Modern Drummer, Jazz Times, Guitar Player, Jazz Is, and numerous jazz history and method books.  Mike is a former faculty member of Drummers Collective and is a popular and busy clinician around the country.  His book "Funk Drumming: Innovative Grooves & Advanced Concepts" was published by Hal Leonard and is a perennial best seller.

Clark is currently co-leading a project with pianist Michael Wolff entitled the Wolff & Clark Expedition and also looking forward to the  release of his Hard Bop band recording- Indigo Blue: Live At The Iridium, also featuring Christian MacBride, Donald Harrison, Rob Dixon, Antonio Farao, and Randy Brecker.

More information can be found at

Mike's stick choice:  IP-5A


Related Events

Drum Clinic
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University of Texas at El Paso , El Paso, TX 79968, USA
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Los Medanos College Music Department, Pittsburg, CA 94565, US
London Drum Show
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Olympia London, London , England W14 8UX, Great Britain
A Drummer's Tradition Drum Clinic
6/22/2017 to 6/22/2017
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A Drummer's Tradition , San Rafael , Ca 94901, USA
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6/22/2017 to 6/28/2017
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Jazz Camp West- (YMCA Camp Jones Gulch), La Honda, CA 94020, USA
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Maureen's Jazz Cellar, Nyack, NY 10960, USA
Drumset Clinic
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San Jose State University, School of Music, Room 150, San Jose, CA 95192-0095, USA
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