- Scott Yanow
electric- and acoustic-bassist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He played accordion early on, switched to violin and cello, and started playing acoustic double bass in school. Clarke worked in rhythm-and-blues and rock bands while still attending high school. After graduating from the Philadelphia Academy of Music, in 1971, he moved to New York.
Upon his arrival, Clarke immediately started working as both an acoustic- and electric-bassist and was seen as the brightest young voice on his instruments. He was a versatile virtuoso open not only to several forms of jazz but also to rock and pop music. Among his early associations were pianist Horace Silver; drummers Art Blakey and Mel Lewis; tenor-saxophonists Dexter Gordon, Gato Barbieri, Joe Henderson, and Pharoah Sanders; and arranger Gil Evans.
A turning point in Clarke s career occurred when he met and befriended keyboardist Chick Corea They played together in ...
A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.