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RealTracks Artist Bio: Terry Clarke

Membership in the Order of Canada, Canada's highest civilian honor, says much about the stature of drummer Terry Clarke, but there is much more to say about a career that, since age 12, has been marked by outstanding accomplishments.

Following formal study with noted drum teacher and author Jim Blackley, Clarke left his native Vancouver in 1965 for San Francisco. There he spent two and half years working with legendary saxophonist, John Handy III, playing on the Grammy nominated recording Live at The Monterey Jazz Festival. In a dramatic change of direction, Clarke then joined the world-famous pop vocal group "The Fifth Dimension" at the height of their popularity.

Clarke left "The Fifth Dimension" in 1970 to establish himself at the heart of the Canadian music industry in Toronto. Primarily playing Jazz, he worked legendary clubs like George's Spaghetti House, Bourbon Steet, and Basin Street with top Canadian artists like Don Thompson, Ed Bickert, Jim Galloway, Sonny Greenwich, Moe Koffman, Peter Leitch, Rob McConnell, Ted Moses, and others. He also backed visiting international stars including Jim Hall, Thad Jones, Barney Kessel, Jay McShann, Don Menza, Blue Mitchell, Art Pepper, and Frank Rosolino. His versatility as a Jazz and Rock drummer kept him in constant demand for studio dates. Clarke was an original member of the Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass Jazz big band, recording and touring with the world-acclaimed ensemble for 25 years. He also toured extensively in Japan and Europe with Jazz guitar great Jim Hall and the legendary Oscar Peterson.

In 1985 Clarke moved to New York City where he worked and recorded with The Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra, Helen Merrill, Toots Theilemans, Ann Hampton Callaway, Red Mitchell, Marvin Stamm, Jim Hall, Bill Mays, Roger Kellaway, and Joe Roccisano, to list just a few.

Returning to Toronto in 1999, he reunited with Rob McConnell in The Rob McConnell Tentet and released a tribute to Canadian Jazz guitar legend Ed Bickert titled Bick's Bag in a trio with Bill Mays and Neil Swainson. More recently, he has been voted Drummer of the Year at the National Jazz Awards for five consecutive years from 2004 through 2008.

With a discography of more than 300 albums, Terry Clarke continues to perform and record with leading international artists including Nancy Wilson, Bill Mays, Renee Rosnes, Jim Hall, and Helen Merrill, as well as with an exciting line-up of Canadian musicians, among them David Braid, Jake Langley, Don Thompson, Nancy Walker, Neil Swainson, and David Occhipinti. Clarke is an enthusiastic Jazz educator, and is member of the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto.

For more details of Terry Clarke's outstanding career, visit the Canadian Jazz Archive at and the Canadian Encyclopedia

Terry Clarke plays these RealDrums & RealTracks:

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