As the son of Stan Tracey CBE, who was the UK’s leading jazz pianist, Clark grew up in a jazz environment from an early age, taking up piano and vibraphone. At 13 he started playing the drums and he turned professional at 17 in 1978, joining his father’s various ensembles, from trio to orchestra, touring worldwide and recording 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 1981 Clark formed the first of his own groups with Django Bates and 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, Lewis Wright and Kit Downes. His bands have also featured luminaries such as Reuben James and Henry Armburg-Jennings.
Clark has had 30 years’ experience playing alongside some of the most important artists in jazz, both at home and abroad. Some of the most significant unions with American artists have been with Johnny Griffin, Pharaoh Sanders, John Hicks, George Cables, Bud Shank, Red Rodney, and Scott Hamilton. British artists include names such as Ronnie Scott, John Surman, Alan Skidmore, Kenny Wheeler, Alan Barnes, Don Weller and Tommy Smith.
He has recorded over 90 albums (11 as a leader) and performed in over 50 countries. He has been awarded Best Drums title three times in the British Jazz Awards and Ronnie Scott’s Award for Best Drums in 2007.
As an educator Clark has given master classes at Leeds College of Music, the Royal Academy of Music, the Musicians’ Institute of London, Bracknell Jazz weekend courses, the Southport and Cheltenham jazz festivals as well as numerous workshops around the UK.
In 2012 he wrote an intermediate level instructional book for Schott Publishing, “Exploring Jazz Drums”. He is a drum tutor at Birmingham Conservatoire and the Purcell School of Music, as well as working for Bucks Music Services and being a NYJO Associate.