30 June 1951, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Clarke started on violin then transferred to cello, double bass and finally the bass guitar. After formal training at school and at the Philadelphia Musical Academy, his first experience was in funk outfits; he then got a taste for playing jazz working with Horace Silver for six months in 1970. He played with tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson and with Pharoah Sanders on the latters Black Unity. A spell with Chick Corea and his Return To Forever band reminded Clarke of his aptitude for the electric bass, and he became a pioneer of fusion as cosmic as it was commercial: Journey To Love (1975) had glossy production a million miles from Sanders abrasive poly-rhythms. A partnership with George Duke, also a fugitive from acoustic jazz, provided audiences with spectacular virtuoso workouts. Gifted with jaw-dropping technique, Clarkes rise to fame coincided with a period when demonstrating...
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