I’m excited to share with you the new video for the first single from my upcoming release titled This Darkness (available for pre-order here https://outofyourheadrecords.bandcamp.com/album/this-darkness). The video is for the song Let This Darkness, and was made by the great Tony Forgey using photos from Lauren Serpa, myself and a painting of mine titled This Darkness. I hope you enjoy….more soon!
Author Archives: Scott Clark
“This Darkness” New Album
Hello friends…It’s been a minute since there was an update here, but I’m very excited to announce my new release “This Darkness” will be released on January 15, 2021 on Out Of You Head Records. Below you’ll find the press release for the album and it is currently available for pre-order via the Out Of Your Head Records bandcamp page (https://outofyourheadrecords.bandcamp.com/album/this-darkness)
It is an incredible honor to be sharing the latest album on Out Of Your Head Records, Scott Clark – This Darkness (OOYH 007), to be released January 15, 2021 both on 12″ vinyl and digitally. You may already be familiar with Scott’s drumming and composition through his ScottClark4tet albums Bury My Heart and ToNow (both on Clean Feed), but many of you also know him due to his regular involvement with Out Of Your Head Records. Scott and I have curated the label together since I relocated to Richmond VA from Brooklyn in 2019, and in a short time he has become a close friend and musical collaborator as well as someone who consistently inspires me as an improviser, composer, and bandleader. While already a legend in jazz and creative music circles in Richmond, This Darkness is a record that should make room for Scott Clark in conversations about the many internationally-reknowned and forward-thinking drummer/composers active today.
There is a lot of info below, and I wanted to get it out before the holidays to give you a chance to spend some time with this music. It is moving and emotionally engaging, and feel strongly that it deserves repeat listens. I’ll be reaching out individually next week to see what kind of opportunites there might be for a single and video premiere, as well as to share non-watermarked downloads for your collections. I truly find this to be an exceptional record, and it offers an approach to solo drum set playing that I personally have never heard before. I hope you will get as much out of it as I have, and look forward to discussing further. Thank you as always for your time and incredible support of what we are doing at OOYH Records!
Photo Credit: Peter Gannushkin
“A haunting, reverent quality that is most heartfelt. One of the best debuts I’ve heard from a previous unknown band.” –Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery on Bury My Heart
“He has this really interesting way of swinging […] it always feels totally in control; I sense that his ride cymbal will never let you down. It feels personal to him, and I like that.” –NPR’s A Blog Supreme
This Darkness (OOYH 007) is the debut solo drum set recording by Richmond-based musician Scott Clark. To call it a solo drum set album is misleading (though it is a solo drum set album), as it defies preconceived ideas as to what one might expect the format to sound like. That the album opens with 7-minutes of a harmonica drone before you hear a single note of drums is only one such example. This recording will take you out of our world for 45-minutes if you allow it to do so. There is space. There is a sense of calm, and there is incredible patience. It shows Clark to be a musician of emotional integrity, and a creative force in the jazz and improvised music world that will continue to demand attention for many years to come. In group performances (most often heard with his own band the ScottClark4tet) he brings raw energy, and an explosive free-jazz attitude that can light a fire under any ensemble should he choose to explore that path in the moment. He also plays with incredible restraint, and possesses a gravitational pull that brings collaborators into his own world of space and often subdued sonic exploration. This Darkness is more of the latter approach, exploring sound, space, and at times quiet ideas at length, but is a fully realized artistic statement from a musician who continues to develop a singular voice in creative music.
The album is inspired by the poem Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower, written by the Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke. A few weeks before recording This Darkness a friend gave Clark a copy of the poem written on a small piece of paper, and he would read it a few times a day leading up to the session. As he set up in the studio in May 2019, he placed the small piece of paper on a music stand and decided in that moment the recording session would begin with the poem in mind. Approaching a poem as a score is something that Clark had explored in the past, but was not necessarily his intention as he planned his first solo recording. On his previous records, Bury My Heart and ToNow (both released on Clean Feed Records), he followed a similar process in that the compositions were written to convey moments in Native history expressed through music. To apply a similar process to this poem, though slightly more abstracted and improvised in nature, feels like a natural progression in his development as a composer. The album as it is presented here was performed in a single take, recorded in the same order heard on This Darkness. After a short break Clark returned to the studio to document some other ideas he had planned for the day-long session, but it was clear to both he and the engineer that the record was already complete. What we hear on This Darkness is indeed a complete album no matter where the inspiration lies, and one that does not feel the need to indulge any preconceived notions as to what a solo drum album should be.
Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower (written by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Burrows)
Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,
what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.
In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.
And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.
Photo Credit: Laura Ann Singh
New Release “ToNow” on Clean Feed Records
I am very excited to announce the release of my new record “ToNow” on Clean Feed Records. (Purchase your copy below or on the music page) We celebrated the release with a show at Black Iris Gallery (321 W. Broad St. Richmond, VA) on Wednesday May 9th. The show was also an art opening for some of my paintings.
ToNow is a contribution in music to the protests that took place at Standing Rock for much of 2016-2017 and remains ongoing. Four songs represent four different aspects: “Plains” (the landscape), “Stand” (Standing Rock reservation), “Red, White, Yellow” (colors on the reservation flag) and “Cantapeta Creek” (the epicenter of the protests). ToNow is meant to be listened to as a suite, continuing the through-compositional voice heard on Bury My Heart (2016), inspired by the events in Dee Brown’s book of the same name.
On the Title:
ToNow comes from something that my daughter said to me one day, “No dada not today tonow” and I thought that was brilliant. It applies to my thoughts on the events at Standing Rock and a lot of other current issues. We can’t wait until tomorrow or even today, things need to happen ToNow.
On the Recording:
I would send some pictures or links to stories to try to have the musicians coming from a similar place emotionally when we would go to play it on a particular take. That’s the most important thing–trying to capture what the piece is and the emotion of what you’re playing.
On the Cover:
The cover is one of my paintings that happened to be finished on Columbus Day. I like the idea of the colors falling down and there being no stars. It means many different things to many different people.
Cameron Ralston, bass
Jason Scott, saxophone
Bob Miller, trumpet
Scott Clark, drums & compositions
Alan Parker, guitar
Tobin Summerfield, guitar
Thank you all for your support and I look forward to sharing more with you soon….
Upcoming RVA Shows
I am very excited to have a string of great concerts coming up in the next week and a half.
First, Thursday 4/20 at Vagabond in RVA. My great friend and amazing musician Scott Burton has put together a night of music he’s calling Small Talk. He describes it as follows:
“Small Talk is a new free musical improvisation series from Scott Burton featuring chance encounters between creatives. The idea is simple: 2 short sets of musical small talk, and 1 set where all the players come together for a longer conversation. You get to eavesdrop!”
Small Talk #1 will be:
Set 1: Guitarists Scott Burton and Toby Summerfield
Set 2: Drummer Scott Clark and Guitarist Alan Parker
Set 3: All of the Above
(more info here https://www.facebook.com/events/1404305372965670/)
(Vagabond 700 E. Broad St. 10pm Free)
Then on Friday 4/21 Cary Street Cafe presents RVA Jazz Night. This show will feature 3 amazing groups in one night. First Scott Burton’s new Kessel Quartet will be performing the music of guitarist Barney Kessel. Next, my group the ScottClarkEnsemble will be performing some new music fresh to everyone. Finally, Charles Owens will have his quartet performing music from his new release “As One” (https://charlesowens.bandcamp.com/album/as-one). Special thanks to Jeremy Simmons for helping set up this great night of music at one of Richmond’s staple music venues. (more info here https://www.facebook.com/events/255989714809070/)
(Cary St. Cafe 2631 W. Cary St. 10pm $10)
Finally, Thursday 4/27 the great Chicago saxophonist Dave Rempis will be in town performing two sets at Candela Books and Gallery in Richmond (214 W. Broad St. 7pm $10). The first set will be of Dave’s work for solo saxophone, followed by a collaboration of a trio featuring Dave, myself and the great guitarist/composer Toby Summerfield.
Dave is on a tour that he describes as follows:
“Prolific Chicago-based saxophonist Dave Rempis (Rempis Percussion Quartet, Ballister, Rempis/Abrams/Ra, The Engines) will undertake a sprawling solo journey around the United States this spring, developing repertoire for his first solo release scheduled on Aerophonic Records this fall, while also working to strengthen the informal networks that connect, inform, and sustain the improvised music scene throughout the U.S. Each concert on the trip will involve a solo set, as well as a collaboration with one or more locally-based musicians in every city he visits. The working title of this ambitious project is Lattice.”
More about Dave Rempis can be found below or at http://daverempis.com
Saxophonist, improviser, and composer Dave Rempis has been an integral part of the thriving Chicago jazz and improvised music scene since 1997. With a background in ethnomusicology and African studies at Northwestern University, including a year spent at the University of Ghana, Rempis burst onto the creative music scene at the age of 22 when he joined the well-known Chicago jazz outfit The Vandermark Five. This opportunity catapulted him to notoriety as he began to tour regularly throughout the US and Europe, an active schedule that he still maintains to the present day. At the same time, Rempis began to develop the many Chicago-based groups for which he’s currently known, including The Rempis Percussion Quartet, The Engines, Ballister, Rempis/Abrams/Ra, Wheelhouse, Triage, The Rempis/Rosaly Duo, and The Rempis/Daisy Duo. Other collaborations have included work with Paul Lytton, Axel Dörner, Fred Anderson, Peter Brötzmann, C. Spencer Yeh, Hamid Drake, Steve Swell, John Tchicai, Roscoe Mitchell, Kevin Drumm, Paal Nilssen-Love, Nels Cline, and Joe McPhee. Rempis has been named regularly since 2006 in the annual Downbeat Critics’s Poll as a “rising star” on alto saxophone, and as a “rising star” and “established talent” on baritone saxophone. In 2013, he started his own record label, Aerophonic Records, to document this ongoing work.
Rempis’ musical expression draws on a number of touchstones. While heavily improvisational in nature, his Greek ethnicity, studies in jazz and ethnomusicology, an appreciation for the philosophical underpinnings of contempory composition, and a love for unforgivingly strident yelps, screeches, and squeals that can encompass the ever-evolving state of human depravity all inform his work.
Aside from his role as a musician and composer, Rempis has worked tirelessly as a presenter. Since 2002, he’s organized and produced a weekly series of improvised music at Chicago’s Elastic Arts Foundation. He was a founding member of Umbrella Music, and one of the lead producers and curators of its annual festival in Chicago from 2006-2014, and served as the business manager of the Pitchfork Music Festival from 2005-2016. He currently works with the Hyde Park Jazz Festival.
Thanks for your support and more soon……
New Music….Clark:Rempis:Roebke Live at The Hungry Brain
I was lucky enough to travel to Chicago in mid 2014 to play and hear some great music. This recording is a documentation from that trip and a set that I played at the Hungry Brain featuring the great saxophonist Dave Rempis and the great bassist Jason Roebke. It was an honor to get to play with both of these musicians. You can find out more information about these musicians on their websites and see all of the great music that they have available.
Dave Rempis: www.daverempis.com
Jason Roebke: www.jasonroebke.info
Thank you for your support
Nick Millevoi Desertion Trio w/ScottClark6tet
I’m very excited about this show coming up on Sunday January 29th at The Camel in Richmond. We’ll be welcoming Nick Millevoi Desertion Trio to town…and my new ensemble, the ScottClark6tet will be opening.
I’ve known Nick for years having opened up for some of his other projects (notably Many Arms). The Desertion Trio features Kevin Shea on drums and Johnny DeBlase on bass. This is a truly special group of musicians, and I’m very excited to have them coming through Richmond.
Nick Millevoi’s Desertion Trio w/ScottClark6tet
1621 W. Broad St., Richmond, VA 23220
$7adv $10 door
Doors open at 7pm
(Facebook event link here Nick Millevoi’s Desertion Trio w/ScottClark6tet)
Here is a short description of Nick and his band:
Desertion Trio is the newest project from intrepid Philadelphia-based guitarist/composer Nick Millevoi, exploring the sonic space between Neil Young’s expansive work with Crazy Horse, late 60s free jazz, and the NY Downtown scene. Millevoi’s Desertion Trio features Johnny DeBlase of Sabbath Assembly and Zevious on bass and Kevin Shea, best known for his work with jazz assassins Mostly Other People Do The Killing and Talibam!, on drums.
Nick’s resume includes playing John Zorn‘s Bagatelles with the Hollenberg-Millevoi Quartet, playing guitar with Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band live and on the group’s critically acclaimed The Rarity of Experience, and co-leading noise jazz trio Many Arms, who released two CDs on John Zorn’s Tzadik label. Nick’s music has been released by labels such as Tzadik, New Atlantis, Gaffer, and The Flenser, and has been reviewed by Pitchfork, SPIN, NPR Music, The Onion AV Club, Wire magazine, and many others.
In May 2015, Shhpuma, part of the Clean Feed label, focused on releasing music that goes “beyond, below and above the jazz realm,” released the debut record by Desertion, featuring bassist Johnny DeBlase, keyboardist Jamie Saft, and drummer Ches Smith. In a track premiere for NPR Music, Lars Gotrich said Desertion “hits the sweet spot between Neil Young’s exploratory Crazy Horse jams and a spaghetti western soundtrack,” and Aquarium Drunkard said, “Desertion is well worth getting lost in.”
Opening the show will be my new group called the ScottClark6tet.
The group features some of my favorite musicians.
Scott Clark- drums
We will be playing all new music written for this band…and I couldn’t be more excited and honored to get to play with this group.
We’d love to have you come join us for this great show…..
won’t you join us?
ScottClark4tet “Bury My Heart”
Exciting Upcoming Concerts…
For many years now I’ve been working (along with many other people) to try to bring world class musicians to our city to perform and connect with what we’re doing here in Richmond. A lot of that wouldn’t be possible without the support of Chris Bopst at Balliceaux, Lucas Fritz at The Camel and The Broadberry and recently the Black Iris Gallery and their Tiny Bar Sessions. (there have also been many other great venues and supporters of shows over the years….Tony Garcia and Darryl Harper at VCU, Gallery 5, Commercial Taphouse, ForInstance Gallery, Black Hand Coffee, Hardywood Brewery and many many many others!).
There are two shows coming up that I am very excited to be bringing to Richmond. First is the group Friends and Neighbors joining us all the way from Norway on Friday, September 2nd at Black Iris Gallery. Doors for the show open at 8:30pm and music starts right at 9pm. Tickets are $10
Quoting from their website: “Friends & Neighbors represents a new generation of bands from the Norwegian jazz-scene. The music can be described as energetic and melodic free jazz inspired by musicians like Ornette Coleman, Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders and John Carter. On their debut album ”No Beat Policy”, Friends & Neighbors have created an authentic and acoustic atmosphere that refers back to the political roots of free jazz. Through original and strong compositions, this has resulted in a band sound with strong identity, crystal clear presence and personality.”
Being able to have an international jazz group playing in our city is a great thing…and I hope that you will come and support them and the music.
Find out more about them here: Friends and Neighbors
Also hear their most recent release on Clean Feed Records here: http://cleanfeed-records.com/product/hymn-for-a-hungry-nation/
The second show is the group Battle Trance led by the great saxophonist/composer Travis Laplante. This show will also be taking place at the Black Iris Gallery on Wednesday, September 7th (doors at 8:30pm music at 9pm. Tickets $10) Battle Trance’s new record “Blade of Love” was just released and it is a truly amazing record.
More on the group and the new record via their site:
“Blade of Love is the new album from tenor saxophone quartet Battle Trance. The follow-up to their widely acclaimed debut Palace of Wind (2014), Blade of Love is an elemental composition that aims to fulfill the tenor saxophone’s expansive potential as an ensemble instrument. Working within the intimate intersection of the human body/breath and the saxophone, Blade of Love is a spiritual and enigmatic work with a deep emotional resonance.
Since forming in 2012, the four saxophonists in Battle Trance (Travis Laplante, Patrick Breiner, Matt Nelson, Jeremy Viner) have spent hundreds of hours deepening their musical connection with each other, maturing as an ensemble through relentless touring everywhere from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, Montreal to Vancouver, and most places in between.
The three movements of Blade of Love were composed by Battle Trance leader Travis Laplante and recorded by the group in a wooden room with soaring ceilings in the Vermont forest, after spending two years of rigorous rehearsals working to perfect the array of extended techniques, both virtuosic and primal, required to bring the challenging piece to life.
Blade of Love’s central focus is on the physical and spiritual intersection of the saxophone and the human body. The saxophone is one of the few instruments that literally enters the body of the person playing it, and Blade of Love is a medium for this sacred meeting place, with each member of Battle Trance using the saxophone as a vessel for the human spirit.
Singing has an inherent power, but that power is heightened in the context of Blade of Love. At times, the four players sing while exhaling through the saxophone tubes, using the instrument’s keys to shift the timbre of their voices. Laplante also integrates non-traditional mouth articulations, using the saxophone as a resonant chamber for these inventive sounds.”
You can purchase your copy of their new record at the show and also hear a sample of the music via the bandcamp page here: https://battletrance.bandcamp.com/album/blade-of-love
These two shows are just the most recent, in a long list of shows, that will pass through Richmond. I hope that you will come support the music and help to continue to make Richmond a destination for other musicians to stop at and share their music with us.
For both of these shows my group, the ScottClarkOther4tet, will be opening. For the show on September 2nd the 4tet will be playing music that we’ve been working on over the past few months, stemming from some of my early compositions. For the show on September 7th we will be performing the suite “Bury My Heart” from our most recent release on Clean Feed Records. This will be the first performance of the suite with guitarist Alan Parker, and I am very excited to share this music with you. If you haven’t already heard the record you can hear it here (https://cleanfeed-records.com/product/bury-my-heart/) and I will also have hard copies for sale at both shows.
As always, thank you for all of your support….
Rick Parker/Li Daiguo & ScottClarkOther4tet @ Balliceaux
Join us for a special night of music, on Wednesday August 3rd, as we welcome the duo of Brooklyn’s Rick Parker and China’s Li Daiguo to Richmond for a great night of music at Balliceaux. The ScottClarkOther4tet will be opeing (featuring Cameron Ralston, Bob Miller, Alan Parker and Scott Clark).
Doors open at 9:30 and the show is free….
Balliceaux: 203 N. Lombardy St Richmond, VA 23220
Read more about Rick and Li below…they are touing in support of their new record and this is really something that you don’t want to miss. (you can hear a sample of what they do here…..https://youtu.be/yayQMF6LyeU)
ABOUT LI DAIGUO AND RICK PARKER
Sounds of the trombone, cello, pipa human voice and a variety of electronic remedies are conjured to form the psychoacoustic duo of Brooklyn’s Rick Parker and China’s Li Daiguo. “The sounds that the two create together are uncategorizable, a fluid blend of past and future, traditional and modern. They move from the ambient to the abstract, with folk-like acoustics colliding strangely with sci-fi electronics.” (Shaun Brady). With performances and recording sessions over the last 2 years in both NYC and Dali, a small city in southwest China, Parker and Li will release their debut record, Free World Music, on Brooklyn’s eleven2eleven record label in June 2016.
Their unlikely collaboration began in 2014 with Parker’s visit to Li’s current hometown of Dali where they performed and recorded. Later that fall, Li travelled to NYC where they spent another day in the recording studio and performed concerts at Manhattan Inn and Trans-Pecos presented by Lucas Ligeti’s Pigeon Culture. Their performance in Philadelphia presented by Fire Museum was also named a 2014 Best Performance in Philadelphia by Ken Weiss in Cadence Magazine. In the summer of 2015, they were invited to take part in a week long composition residency at COART in Lijiang, China which culminated in a concert of the music they created together during that week.
Both musicians have shaped their own successful careers on their own. Li Daiguo is a major figure in the experimental traditional music world in China and abroad. The multi-instrumentalist has performed solo concerts on cello, pipa, throat singing and beat boxing at Paris Cite De La Musique, Sonic Protest Festival France, Culturescapes Arts Festival in Switzerland, World Sacred Spirits Festival in India as well as festivals all over China. He has also composed for the Guangzhou Modern Dance company, Guangzhou Ballet company, Nobu Khan Malaysian Butoh Dance festival and has released numerous recordings on his own.
Combining jazz, experimental, electronic and rock, Rick Parker casts a broad net with his trombone playing augmented by electronics and synthesizers. His music has been described as “an expressive new-breed fusion, informed by a few generations of downtown experimentation.” Nate Chinen, New York Times. He leads/co-leads several groups including: jazz quintet, the Rick Parker Collective; Little Worlds a trio dedicated to the performance of Bela Bartok’s Mikrokosmos and 9 Volt with Eyal Maoz. These groups have 5 releases on labels including OutNow Recordings, Fresh Sound New Talent and eleven2eleven. Parker has worked with a large cross section of notable musicians including Tim Berne, Mingus Big Band, Charli Persip, Frank Lacy, Ravish Momin’s Tarana, Super Hi-Fi, Tim Kuhl, Beninghove’s Hangmen, hip hop legends the Wu Tang Clan, Ghostface Killah, DMC and mexican pop stars Ximena Sariñana and Natalia LaFourcade.
ScottClark4tet Kennedy Center Video
On February 24, the ScottClark4tet played at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as part of their Millennium Stage series. The concert was streamed live and is now on their website as part of their archive (which has an amazing selection of videos to watch!). I want to thank everyone that attended the concert that night and also thank you to everyone that watched online.
If you missed it, you can view the performance via this link http://www.kennedy-center.org/video/index/M6669
This performance was of our suite “Bury My Heart” and is available on our new record by the same name. You can purchase your copy on my site under the “music” tab (https://scottwclark.com/listen/) as well as on the Clean Feed Records website (https://cleanfeed-records.com/product/bury-my-heart/). It is also available on your favorite online music service (amazon, iTunes etc).
Thank you for all of your support….more soon