Are you serious? Where is Mike Clark and Lenny White?
by Linda Reynolds
(New York, NY)
You write about influential and you leave out two legends of the instrument that half of these pretenders couldn't carry water for.
Gentlemen, I KNOW you know who these geniuses are and in case you actually do not-and you have done very sloppy homework if that is true-let me educate you.
Lenny White and Mike Clark are two very major innovators in so-called fusion music from the early 70s.
After sharing Miles Davis' Bitches Brew drumming duties with Jack DeJohnette--"playing around the beat and in the cracks," and anchoring Freddie Hubbard's seminal Red Clay album, one of Tony Williams' most astute proteges, White went on to chair Chick Corea's Return to Forever where he created his own unique sounds with his fancy footwork and solid toms.
His playing often recalls his double drumming on Bitches Brew, even while playing solo. He's an Octopus behind a kit.
You mention Harvey Mason, who although he made the first Head Hunter record with Hancock, that post was promptly filled by Mike Clark. Clark went on to record a song called Actual Proof on the Thrust record with Hancock and the Headhunters and is a masterpiece.
He is credited with inventing a wholly unique linear style of polyrhythmic drumming. He also went on to record some ridiculously funky beats on Headhunters recordings including the iconic "God Make Me Funky" which is one of the most sampled songs in history.
Together these two were at the forefront of the fusion scene (Clark more of a funk fusion, while White's speciality was rock fusion) and continue to astound their fans with their diversity, playing jazz in New York and all over the world and revisiting the fusion forms they literally invented.
Please give credit where due.