[Mike Clark album cover]

"The Headhunter"

Volume Three


The "Master Drummers" series is a tribute to the drummers of the early seventies who were the backbone of that organic, mysterious, and messy music called funk.

Over the last fifteen years or so, in response to the disappearance of the funk, fanatics have clung to party grooves like James Brown's "Funky Drummer" (and a thousand other small label singles) and elevated them to the level of classics. To this day, beat scrutinizers the world scour record stores for these rare grooves like young archaeologists unearthing a lost civilization. Some of these archivists are music producers who get their rhythmic inspiration from the impossibly funky breakdowns on these jams.

All of which makes this the perfect time to go back to the creators of this music, roll tape, and make sure there is no mistaking what the funk is and where it came from.

[Mike Clark in the seventies]

Photo by Tom Copi.
© 1995

Volume three features Mike Clark, whose many credits include founding the Headhunters. Besides serving as Herbie Hancock's backing band in his funk years, the Headhunters (Mike, Paul Jackson, Bennie Maupi n, Bill Summers, and Blackbyrd McKnight) created someof the best jazz-funk of the early seventies, including the seminal "Survival of the Fittest" album.

On this recording, Mike revisits some classic moments in funk drumming and offers up some fat new funkies as well. What you have here are raw, unadulterated drum solos and loops for drummers, musicians, deejays and beat freaks alike. Offered in the hope that more people like you will help keep the funk alive.
Artist: Mike Clark
Title: Master Drummers volume three
Producer: Dan Prothero

Label: Ubiquity Recordings
Catalog Number: URLP 011 / URCD 011
Retail Price: $9.99 LP / $12.99 CD (Sample clearances must be negotiated separately)
File Under: Samples / Breakbeats
Release Date: October 1, 1995
"I met Mike through Paul Jackson, the bass player. They had been friends for many years in Oakland, so he knew that whole style of playing. It was interesting that when I broke up the Headhunters band, all Mike wanted to do was play straight-ahead jazz. So he went to New York, and everybody asked him to play that kind of Oakland funk style. He refused - so he didn't work for a long time. Finally, guys started c alling him for jazz gigs, and now it's not a problem anymore. 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 th e 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.'"
- Herbie Hancock, Modern Drummer magazine, January 1996
(check out the December '95 issue of Modern drummer for a quote from Lenny White)
"Mike Clark, a native of Oakland, California has enjoyed a wide range of musical experience and growth since he first began playing drums with unknown soul groups in the East Bay. His joy of playing and high energy have contributed to The Coasters, The Olympics, Sam and Dave, and Sonny and Cher. Mike's list of professional accomplishments goes on to include positions with O.C. Smith, Jackie Lee, Jimmy Reed, Bobby Hutcherson, Vince Guaraldi, Woody Shaw, Mose Allison, and most recen tly Herbie Hancock. Since joining Herbie in 1973, Mike has brought the 'superfunk' sound into Hancock's music."
- liner notes, The Headhunters - Survival of the Fittest, 1973
For help on playing back these excerpts on your computer, click here.
Mike was on the West Coast in May and June, recording on Charlie Hunter's next Blue Note album.

He's also playing straightahead gigs around town, including Jazz At Pearls in North Beach.

For information on where to find releases from the Master Drummers series,click here.


An unofficial discography of some of our favorite Mike Clark moments from the past:

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