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Kenny Clarke
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    (January 8, 1914-January 26, 1985)
    Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    Birth name was Kenneth Clarke Spearman
    Jazz drummer
    Played with Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, and Milt Jackson
    Recorded the albums ‘Bohemia After Dark’ (1955), ‘Telefunken Blues’ (1955) and ‘The Golden 8’ (1961)
    With pianist/compose Francy Boland, recorded the albums ‘Jazz Is Universal’ (1962), ‘Now Hear Our Meanin’’ (1965), ‘Out of the Folk Bag’ (1967), ‘Faces’ (1968), ‘All Blues’ (1969) and ‘Changes of Scene’ (1971)
    He dropped out of junior high school to become a professional musician.
    While in Army basic training during World War II, he went AWOL for four months.
    He fathered a son out of wedlock with jazz singer Annie Ross.
    He was addicted to heroin for over a decade.
    He moved to Paris for the last three decades of his life.
    He was nicknamed ‘Klook’ (allegedly from ‘klook-mop,’ an attempt to imitate the sound he produced by following a snare drum rimshot with a bass drum bomb).
    He was orphaned at age five.
    He was an innovator of bee-bop jazz drumming, who pioneered using the ride cymbal to keep time and ‘dropping bombs’ (irregular accents from the bass drum).
    He served as a house drummer and talent scout for Savoy Records, and got the label to sign Cannonball Adderly, Donald Byrd and Pepper Adams.
    He was named an NEA Jazz Master (1983) and was inducted into the DownBeat Jazz Hall of Fame (1988).
    He last performed a month before his death.

Credit: C. Fishel

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