Clark Tracey was born in London, England in 1961. He grew up in a jazz environment as the son of Stan Tracey, the UK's leading jazz pianist, and from an early age took to the piano and vibraphones. At 13 he started playing the drums and began working with semi professional jazz groups until he turned professional at 17 in 1978 by joining his father's various ensembles, from trio to orchestra. Within that context he has toured worldwide and recorded extensively ever since. In 2001 Clark began his own record company, Tentoten Records and in 2007 he also started up Resteamed Records, a label dedicated to his father's works.
As a leader
In 1981 he formed the first of his own groups with Django Bates, Iain Ballamy and Andrew Cleyndert. Later groups included Guy Barker, Jamie Talbot, Nigel Hitchcock, Dave O'Higgins, Mark Nightingale, Mornington Lockett, Julian Arguelles, Gerard Presencer, Alec Dankworth and Steve Melling, Simon Allen and Zoe Rahman. He currently runs a new sextet featuring young luminaries Lewis Wright and Kit Downes and a quartet with Brandon Allen, Gareth Williams and Arnie Somogyi, performing British material.
As a composer
He has received commissions for his quintet, 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 & Joan Viskant, also the folk group Filska. He composes regularly for his own groups.
As a freelance drummer
Clark has had 30 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, Don Weller and Tommy Smith. He has recorded over 90 albums (9 as a leader) and performed in around 50 countries. He has been awarded "Best Drums" title three times in the British Jazz Awards and Ronnie Scott's Award for “Best Drums” in 2007. He has received endorsements from Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks and Remo Drumheads.
As an educator
Clark also teaches privately and for the Hertfordshire Music Services 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.
TV - Film - Radio - Stage
Clark has appeared on tv and radio all over the world, but key moments include "Omnibus" (BBC) with his quintet, "Mercury Music Awards" (BBC) with Sting, "Father & Son" (ITV) 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, plus numerous radio broadcasts with his own groups on Radios 2 & 3. In 1999 Clark got a feature in the motion picture "The Talented Mr. Ripley" starring Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law (directed by Anthony Minghella) and this year was involved in the soundtrack of motion picture "Alfie" starring Jude Law.
Clark has appeared on stage as an actor/drummer on three occasions; Last Chance Theatre Company's "The Last Connection" for 6 months, "Lady Day" starring Dee Dee Bridgewater for a year and "Lenny" starring Eddie Izzard and directed by Sir Peter Hall for a year.
Current Groups led By Clark Tracey
Clark Tracey Trio
Clark Tracey Quartet
Clark Tracey Sextet
Clark Tracey's Tribute to Art Blakey