Clark Tracey

Clark Tracey profile

Jazz Drums Tutor (Ensemble Coaching)

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
c/o +44 (0)121 331 6902

Clark Tracey BEM grew up in a jazz environment as the son of Stan Tracey OBE, CBE, the UK's multi award winning legendary jazz pianist, and Jackie Tracey, a former head of A&R at Decca Records and pioneer of British jazz recordings in the 1950s, as well as jazz club owner in the 1970s. From an early age Clark took to the piano and vibraphones.

At 13 he started playing the drums and turned professional at 17 in 1978 by joining his father's various ensembles, from trio to orchestra for the next 35 years, up until Stan's death in 2013. Within that context he toured worldwide and recorded extensively. In 2001 Clark began his own record company, Tentoten Records and in 2007 he formed Resteamed Records, a label dedicated to his father's works. In 2017 he wrote a biography of Stan entitled "The Godfather of British Jazz", released on Equinox Publishing.

As a Freelance Drummer

Clark has had 40 years' experience playing alongside some of the most important artists in jazz at home and abroad. Some of the most significant unions with American artists have been with Johnny Griffin, Pharaoh Sanders, John Hicks, George Cables, Bud Shank, Red Rodney, and Scott Hamilton. British artists include names such as Ronnie Scott, John Surman, Alan Skidmore, Kenny Wheeler, Alan Barnes, Mark Nightingale, Don Weller and Tommy Smith. He has recorded over 100 albums (15 as a leader) and performed in over 50 countries. He has been awarded "Best Drums" title six times in the British Jazz Awards (most recently in 2018) and Ronnie Scott's Award for “Best Drums” in 2007. He has endorsements with Bosphorus Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks, Remo Drumheads and Cambridge Drums.

As a Band Leader

In 1981 he formed the first of his own groups with Django Bates and Iain Ballamy. Later groups have included Guy Barker, Nigel Hitchcock, Dave O'Higgins, Mark Nightingale, Mornington Lockett, Julian Arguelles, Gerard Presencer, Alec Dankworth, Simon Allen, Zoe Rahman, Arnie Somogyi, Lewis Wright, Kit Downes, Alex Ridout, Sean Payne, James Wade-Sired, Tom Ridout and Chris Maddock. He currently works alongside Rising Star, Alex Clarke.

As a Composer

He has received commissions for his quintet and sextet, an octet called “Bootleg Eric” shared with pianist Dave Newton, "Continental Drift" (an 11 piece band co-composed with Stan Tracey and commissioned by The Arts Council), and composed for the Berkshire Youth Jazz Orchestra and the Appleby Festival big band. He has also written string quartet arrangements for his own group and vocalists Claire Martin, Tina May & Joan Viskant, also the folk group Filska.

As an Educator

Clark also teaches privately and has given masterclasses at Leeds College of Music, Royal Academy of Music, Musicians' Institute of London, Bracknell jazz weekends courses, the Southport and Cheltenham festivals as well as numerous workshops around the UK and overseas, attached to British Council tours. He was for several years employed by the Hertfordshire Music Services. In 2012 he released an instructional book for Schott Publishing, "Exploring Jazz Drums". Since 2012 Clark has been a Visiting Tutor at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. In 2019 he provided the jazz content for Trinity Drums Grades (1-8) and in 2020 was invited to compose, record and coordinate a unique drums grades book (1-10) exclusively for the Chinese market.

TV - Film - Radio - Stage

Clark has appeared on TV and radio all over the world, but key moments include "Omnibus" (BBC) with his quintet (1988), "Mercury Music Awards" (BBC) with Sting, "Father & Son" (Granada TV) with own group and Stan Tracey, "The Paradise Club" (ITV), "Ellington's" (ITV), "Call Me Mister" (ITV), "Blue Note's 50th Anniversary Concert" with Tommy Smith at the Montreux Jazz Festival (1989), plus countless radio broadcasts with his own groups on Radio 2 and Radio 3. In 1999 Clark had a feature in the motion picture "The Talented Mr. Ripley" alongside Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law and he performed on the soundtrack of the motion picture "Alfie", also starring Jude Law. Clark has appeared on stage as an actor/drummer on three occasions; Last Chance Theatre Company's "The Last Connection" for six months; "Lady Day" starring Dee Dee Bridgewater for a year; Julian Barry's "Lenny" starring Eddie Izzard and Elizabeth Berkley, directed by Sir Peter Hall for a year.

As a Promoter

In 2010 Clark revived Herts Jazz Club which was about to retire after 40 years. He promoted weekly gigs at The Maltings in St Albans, featuring a wide variety of British, European and American musicians, until 2021 and also established the first annual Herts Jazz Festival in 2011.

Current Activity