May 23, 2024

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Interview with Mike Clark: Swinging acoustic music with a seeking spirit

Interview with drummer Mike Clark. An interview by email in writing.

Dear readers, get to know more about our US/EU Jazz – Blues Festivals and the activities of our US/EU Jazz – Blues Association in the capitals of Europe, we will soon publish program for 2024, enjoy in the July – August – Brussels, Berlin, Prague, Warsaw, Sofia, new addreses this year, also in Amsterdam, Budapest and Liverpool.

JazzBluesNews.com: – Please explain your creative process … What are your main impulses to write music?

Mike Clark: – I have to hear something in my mind that I like. I can’t just do it without something I like coming to me. After that the rest follows.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2024

Our US/EU Jazz-Blues Association Festivals 2024 with performances by international musicians

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2023

JBN: – What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments and pieces in your work and/or career?

MC: – I have had several, one was Actual Proof with Herbie I played without instruction so it was exactly as I felt and heard it. I do like the conversations on my new record Mike Clark plays Herbie Hancock. I also like Wolff and Clark 2, there is some interesting interaction on that recording. As far as playing concerts or clubs I have had thousands of very fantastic nights so that would be hard to say.

JBN: – Are there sub-genres within the jazz field that you tend to stay away from or focus on?

MC: – No, I like almost all styles of jazz if its swinging, I do also like some avant garde playing as well. Not much jazz or blues music that I don’t like at this point.

JBN: – When your first desire to become involved in the music was & what do you learn about yourself from music?

MC: – I started as a child, my Dad took me to clubs and the musicians would let me sit in quite young. I think what I have learned is how to work with people and respect the dignity of all life.

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JBN: – How would you describe and rate the music scene you are currently living?

MC: – Swinging acoustic music with a seeking spirit. I think most of the music I am involved with is on a pretty high level. I play a lot with Eddie Henderson’s band and it is challenging and joyful.

JBN: – When you improvise, you know where you’re going. It’s a matter of taking certain paths and certain directions?

MC: – I don’t know where I am going until we start playing and then hopefully I know enough history to comment on what’s happening from behind the drums to make things not only feel good but that the conversations makes sense. Swinging is not just the beat, it’s a language with a myriad of dialects.

JBN: – Do you ever get the feeling that music majors, and particularly people who are going into jazz, are being cranked out much like business majors? That they are not really able to express themselves as jazz musicians?

MC: – I think in todays world there is not enough opportunity for young people to play gigs to be able to hone their skills, They have to find a new way to get it together. I think college is great but without the street sensibility I don’t personally enjoy the experience as much, either playing or listening.

JBN: – What has given you the most satisfaction musically?

MC: – Playing jazz that really swings is the whole reason I do this. I am not trying to reinvent the wheel but when the band is really feeling it and the interaction is interesting, this is what keeps me in the game.

JBN: – From the musical and feeling point of view is there any difference between a old and great jazzmans and young?

MC: – It depends on the person. I have experienced great playing and hard grooving by people in many different age groups. If a person can really swing and play age to me has nothing to do with it.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Association 2023

JBN: – What advice would you give to aspiring musicians thinking of pursuing a career?

MC: – To play with actual humans as much as possible. Playing with a band is an art, it’s not just how well you can solo,.

JBN: – Do You like our questions?

MC: – Yes. Great questions … ok let’s see … How do people feel about listening to the jazz of the 50’s and 60’s to inform the style that they are coming up with.

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Interview by Simon Sarg

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