Clark Tracey has just been awarded the MBE for services to jazz. Certainly for the pleasure that he has given for many years as the leader of quintets which have showcased some of the best new players on the scene, and energetically giving audiences original tunes, as well as the best of UK jazz of the past 50 years.
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. In 2017 he wrote a biography of Stan entitled “The Godfather of British Jazz”, released on Equinox Publishing.
In 1981 he formed the first of his own groups with Django Bates, & Iain Ballamy. Later groups have included Guy Barker, Nigel Hitchcock, Dave O’Higgins, Mark Nightingale, Mornington Lockett, Julian Arguelles, Gerard Presencer, Alec Dankworth, Simon Allen, Zoe Rahman, Arnie Somogyi, Lewis Wright, Kit Downes and Chris Maddock. His latest band of luminaries features BBC Young Jazz Musician Alexandra Ridout on trumpet and Sean Payne on saxophone.