New York’s own Kim Clarke is a multifaceted bassist and composer. She performs alternately on the acoustic bass, electric upright and four- and five-stringed electric bass guitar, as the situation demands. Her electric bass playing has been described as soulful, funky, rich & tight.
Clarke is a 3-time recipient of the coveted NEA Jazz Study Fellowship and a long-time student of the Barry Harris Workshop. Clarke was also a member of Harris’ Jazz Cultural Theatre’s house band for the famed Art Blakey Breakfast Jam.
In 1981 she embarked upon what was to become a 22 year tour affiliation with trombonist Joseph Bowie and his avant-jazz funk unit Defunkt, a powerful mixed-idiom group which wowed audiences from Iceland to Istanbul. She performed on 17 Defunkt CDs, gaining kudos as “nearly the funkiest bass player in NY” and having been a “whiz bassist” “in killer form” and compared with such funky bass icons as Bootsy Collins. Defunkt’s mention in Ivan Bartowski’s Jazz Family Tree Map is considered a supreme honor. Kim Clarke was also given an entry into the 1990 Who’s Who in the Performing Arts.
As an acoustic bassist she traveled most notably with the late Joe Henderson Quartet (1986-7) throughout Europe and was called “a dynamic woman in Jazz who supported the intense rhythm of the Henderson group with unsuspected vitality and melodic solo passages…”
In 1997 she and a good friend Rob Scheps formed a group, MAGNETS!, which began its touring life in Oregon. In 2000 the band recorded the album MAGNETS! Live at the Earshot Jazz Festival in Seattle, which Clarke co-produced.
The Lady Got Chops Women’s History Month Music and Arts Festival was originally co-produced by Clarke in 2003, and s still in action. In 2012, the festival just celebrated their 10th year and is now spread out over all the NYC boroughs as well as Long Island and Peekskill N.Y.
Clarke has toured with many amazing musicians over the years and here’s the list: George Gruntz, Annie Whitehead, Christy Doran, Marilyn Mazur, and Ursula Dudziak. Her experiences include tours with the National Black Theatre, Yusef Lateef Quartet, Teri Thornton Trio, Bertha Hope Trio, Robert Palmer , Kit McClure Big Band, Defunkt, Rachel Z Trio, Bigfood, Wallace Roney and Cindy Blackman Quartet, Oliver Lake and Jump Up, James Blood Ulmer Experience, Jack Mc Duff Quartet, Rodney Kendricks Quartet, and local performances with: Harold Ousley, Jimmy Heath, Steve Coleman, Lester Bowie, Andy Bey, Louis Hayes, Gerald Hayes, the late Lionel Hampton, Candido, Patato, Little Jimmy Scott, Dr. Billy Taylor, Olu Dara, Screamin Jay Hawkins, Dakota Staton , Gracian Moncur, the late Art Blakey, Philly Joe Jones, Marylou Williams, Sharon Freeman, Sheila Jordan, Geri Allen, Vanessa Rubin , Cassandra Wilson, Fievre Latina, Adela Dalto, poets Ntozake Shange and Trazana Beverly, dancers Tina Pratt and Roxanne Butterfly, and rapper/actress Queen Latifah.