Terry Clarke | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Terry Clarke

Terry (Terence Michael) Clarke. Drummer, b Vancouver 20 Aug 1944. While a pupil 1960-5 of Jim Blackley in Vancouver, Clarke performed with Chris Gage, David Robbins, and others, often teamed with the bassist Don (W.) Thompson.

Clarke, Terry

Terry (Terence Michael) Clarke. Drummer, b Vancouver 20 Aug 1944. While a pupil 1960-5 of Jim Blackley in Vancouver, Clarke performed with Chris Gage, David Robbins, and others, often teamed with the bassist Don (W.) Thompson. He then toured with the US saxophonist John Handy 1965-7 and the US pop group The Fifth Dimension 1967-9. Clarke, Thompson, and Handy were part of the collaborative quintet who recorded the acclaimed Live at Monterey album (Columbia, 1966), from the 1965 Monterey Jazz Festival. In 1970 Clarke settled in Toronto, at first working with Lenny Breau, and quickly became the city's leading studio drummer, noted for his versatility in jazz and rock settings. Concurrently, he played jazz in local clubs and concerts, and on radio and TV, as a member of the Boss Brass and of small groups led by Thompson, Ed Bickert, Jim Galloway, Sonny Greenwich, Moe Koffman, Peter Leitch, Rob McConnell, Ted Moses, and others. He was also heard in local clubs backing US musicians including Jim Hall, Thad Jones, Barney Kessel, Jay McShann, Don Menza, Blue Mitchell, Art Pepper, and Frank Rosolino.

During the early 1970s Clarke was based in Toronto, working with fellow drummer Jerry Fuller and saxophonist P.J. Perry. Clarke began touring internationally with Hall in 1976 and maintained the association intermittently through the 1980s. He also travelled in 1981 with the Oscar Peterson Trio.

In 1985 Clarke moved to New York, working there and/or touring with Hall, the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra, Roger Kellaway, Helen Merrill, Toots Thielemans, Oscar Peterson, and others. He returned to Canada on several occasions - eg, to perform with Oliver Jones at the 1988 FIJM and to record in Toronto with the Boss Brass.

By his own description a "no-apologies eclectic" (quoted in Boogie, Pete & The Senator), Clarke brings the same bouyant swing and quick, responsive accompaniment to every situation, be it McShann's fundamental Kansas City blues or the Boss Brass' orchestral jazz.

His discography as a sideman also includes jazz albums in Canada with Guido Basso, Bickert, Galloway, Greenwich, Jones, Koffman, Leitch, Moses, Peterson (Nigerian Marketplace), Thompson, Tim Brady, Trudy Desmond, Doug Riley, Bernie Senensky, Dave Turner (For the Kindness of Strangers, 1988, Justin Time JUST-29), and others. (Details of his Canadian recordings to 1980 are listed in the Canadian Jazz Discography.) Other albums with Rosolino and Buddy Tate are listed in EMC in the Bickert discography, those with Jay McShann in the Galloway discography, and those with Desmond, Hall, Handy and the US guitarist Emily Remler in the Thompson discography. Clarke also appeared on Hall's All Across the City (1989, Concord Jazz CJ-384), Eddie Daniels' Memos from Paradise (1987-8, GRP GR-1050) and Ken Peplowski's Double Exposure (1987, Concord Jazz CJ-344) and Sonny Side (1989, Concord Jazz CJ-376).

After several years based in New York, Clarke returned to Canada in 1999 and joined The Rob McConnell Tentet. The group was nominated for a Juno award for their debut CD, The Rob McConnell Tentet (Justin Time). Clarke's own debut album, It's About Time (2009, Blue Music Group), was recorded during live performances in Toronto and Montreal and featured several jazz musicians including guitarist Jim Hall, saxophonist Joe Lovano, alto saxophonist Greg Osby, and, from the Terry Clarke Trio, Phil Dwyer on saxophones and Don Thompson on bass. The album won a Juno for traditional jazz album of the year (2010). In addition to teaching jazz clinics and seminars throughout North America and overseas, Clarke has taught as an adjunct professor of jazz in the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto.

In 2002, Clarke was invested as a member of the Order of Canada. He has also been honoured as Drummer of the Year at the Canadian National Jazz Awards (2002, 2004-2008).

Further Reading

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