“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 album Thrust, on the song “Actual Proof,” is one of the best drum solos on any of my albums. So many people have remarked about that solo, saying, ‘Incredible.’”
Drum virtuoso and jazz musician Mike Clark gained worldwide recognition as one of America’s foremost jazz and funk drummers while playing with Herbie Hancock and The Headhunters in the early seventies. His incisive playing on Hancock’s “Actual Proof” garnered him an international cult following and influenced generations of drummers. His versatility led him to a two-year stint with Brand X, the British jazz/rock fusion band founded by Phil Collins. With them he recorded “Do They Hurt?” and “Product.”
Mike is a co-leader with several other artists. “The Wolff and Clark Expedition 2,” with pianist Michael Wolff, was considered one of Downbeat's Top 25 releases in 2016. Along with Delbert Bump, he released "Retro Report," an organ trio CD, in April 2018. He continues to tour with the Headhunters.
Venture, Mike's collaboration with vibraphonist Mark Sherman, saxophonist Chase Baird, and bassist Felix Pastorius, releases "Life Cycle" in May of this year.
Mike will be featured on Eddie Henderson's "Be Cool" also due out in May.
The Sacramento, CA native has recorded and toured with jazz greats Herbie Hancock, Christian McBride, Chet Baker, John Scofield, Nicholas Payton, Tony Bennett, Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, Eddie Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Vince Guaraldi, Woody Shaw, Donald Harrison, Albert King, Larry Coryell, Mike Wolff, Wallace Roney, Billy Childs, Jack Walrath, Jack Wilkins, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Chris Potter, Bobby McFerrin, Nat Adderly, Oscar Brown Jr., and the Gil Evans Orchestra.
Along with James Brown's drummers Clyde Stubblefield and Jabo Stark, Mike's funk beats with The Headhunters (most notably "God Make Me Funky") include some of the most sampled in hip hop history.
Mike is a popular and busy clinician. His book Funk Drumming: Innovative Grooves & Advanced Concepts was published by Hal Leonard.
He endorses DW Drums, Istanbul Cymbals, Evans Drum heads, and Innovation Percussion drumsticks. He lives in New York City with documentary filmmaker June Cross.