Clark Sommers is a Grammy Award winning bassist steeped in the jazz tradition. Sommers, born September 7th, 1977, raised in Lake Forest, Illinois, is an artist dedicated to cultivating his own unique sound by expanding on the work of past masters while keeping an ear towards the future. Over the last 15 years Clark has performed all over the world and is featured on more than 40 albums with renowned artists such as Kurt Elling, Cedar Walton, Ernie Watts, The Mighty Blue Kings, Marilyn McCoo, Marvin Hamlisch, Kevin Mahogany, Peter Bernstein, Michael Weiss, Ira Sullivan, Frank Wess and Charles McPherson among others. ”Clark Sommers rings true and honest in tone. The golden color pours a solid foundation to the timber of the group.” – All About Jazz.
Clark began his musical career in 1990 when his parents bought him a drum set for Christmas. He made the switch to electric bass when his seventh grade buddies formed a rock band that didn’t have a bassist. Only after hearing the slinky bass lines on Led Zeppelin and James Brown records did he realize the power of bass in music. Early in high school Clark had the opportunity to study with James Cammack; long time bassist of the iconic pianist Ahmad Jamal. “I learned so much from Jim. He had a definitive personality on the bass…it was like he was speaking through the instrument, really communicating. He had an infectious groove that was undeniable. He taught me the role of the bass and how paramount it was in every musical context.” Six months after intense study with Cammack, Clark was playing with local musicians more than twice his age. Shortly after that he made the transition to the upright-bass and began spending his lunch hour practicing on a school bass in the orchestra room. By his junior year, Clark was playing jazz at clubs, private parties and restaurants throughout the suburbs of Chicago. Occasionally, Cammack would let Clark sit in on his gigs with some of Chicago’s finest musicians. During his senior year in high school, Clark was chosen as the bassist for the Midwest Grammy band and was nominated for the All-American Grammy band.