Clark Tracey


Early Career

Clark grew up in a jazz environment as the son of Stan Tracey CBE, 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 he turned professional at 17 in 1978 by joining his father's various ensembles, from trio to orchestra up to the present day. Within that context he has toured worldwide and recorded extensively. In 2001 Clark began his own record company, Tentoten Records and in 2007 he formed Resteamed Records, a label dedicated to his father's works.

Band Leader

In 1981 he formed the first of his own groups with Django Bates, Iain Ballamy and Andrew Cleyndert. Later groups have included Guy Barker, Nigel Hitchcock, Mark Nightingale, Julian Arguelles, Gerard Presencer, Alec Dankworth, Simon Allen, Zoe Rahman, Lewis Wright, Kit Downes, Mark Armstrong, Henry Armburg Jennings and Daniel Casimir.  His newest group, forms at the beginning of 2018 and includes 17 year old wunderkind Sean Payne on alto and Alex Ridout, BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year 2017. Apart from regular dates in this country, Clark has performed at numerous festivals in the UK and has also played overseas with his own groups in Europe, the Far East, and Australia.

Freelance Drummer

Clark has had 40 years' experience playing alongside some of the most important artists in jazz at home and abroad. Some of the most significant unions with overseas artists have been with Johnny Griffin, Pharaoh Sanders, John Hicks, George Cables, Bud Shank, Bireli Lagrene, Red Rodney, Barney Kessel, Scott Hamilton, European Jazz Ensemble and NDR. British artists include names such as Ronnie Scott, John Surman, Alan Skidmore, Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor, Alan Barnes, Don Weller and Tommy Smith. He has recorded over 90 albums (11 as a leader) and performed in over 50 countries. He has been awarded "Best Drums" title five times in the British Jazz Awards (including 2016 and 2017) and the Ronnie Scott's Club Award for "Best Drums" in 2007. Clark is endorsed by Cambridge Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks and Remo Drumheads.


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 regularly composes and arranges for his own groups too.


Clark has given master classes at Leeds College of Music, Royal Academy of Music, Musicians' Institute of London, Bracknell jazz weekends courses, the Southport and Cheltenham jazz festivals as well as numerous workshops around the UK, and overseas attached to British Council tours. He is currently a visiting drum tutor at Birmingham Conservatoire and was previously employed by the Purcell School of Music. In 2012 he wrote an intermediate level instructional book for Schott Publishing, "Exploring Jazz Drums".


Since 2009, Clark has taken over the running of Herts Jazz, a jazz club in Hertfordshire originally formed in 1969. The club runs on a weekly basis over nine months of the year, promoting the best of jazz in the UK and presenting young groups as well as established groups. Herts Jazz also has an annual festival at which British jazz legends have appeared as well as overseas artists.