Zack Clarke is a pianist and composer living and working in New York City. His most recent album, Random Acts of Order, was released on Clean Feed Records in 2017. Previous recordings include the electronic album Music For Headphones, and Dialectic, a collaboration with cellist Chris Irvine that features free improvisation based on Bach’s third cello suites. Clarke's emerging body of work reveals a command of diverse musical styles and a determined pursuit of new ideas through experimentation and improvisation. His music draws from classical, jazz, electronic music and minimalism; with the genres it references always serving to explore the broader concepts involved in improvised and free music.
An active session artist and performer, Clarke has recorded or shared the stage with a number of prominent artists, including Tyshawn Sorey, Drew Gress, Ingrid Laubrock, Daniel Carter, Billy Drewes, Kenny Werner, Dre Hocevar, Sara Serpa, Sam Pluta and Rich Perry. In addition to appearances in the US, Clarke has performed in Europe and South America. As a collaborator he has appeared on numerous recordings, including Luis Antonio Castro's albums Koyari, Mirrors, and Rosa; and with percussionist Dre Hocevar on the album Transcendental Within the Sphere of Indivisible Remainder.
A Texas native and alum of Houston’s acclaimed High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Clarke's abilities as a jazz improviser were recognized early on with multiple awards, including outstanding soloist awards from Downbeat Magazine and from the North Texas Jazz Festival. He attended The New England Conservatory in Boston, majoring in Jazz Performance, and while there had the opportunity to study with jazz greats Danilo Perez, Fred Hersch, and Jason Moran. Upon completion of his Bachelor of Music degree he moved to New York to study with Kenny Werner and attend NYU, where he earned a Masters of Music and worked as adjunct faculty.
In addition to performing and composing, Zack is a dedicated teacher who is grateful for the mentorship he has received, and finds rewards in sharing that knowledge with others through instruction in piano and music theory.
"After hearing only the first track, one is bound to ask: What sort of record is this? I’m not sure, in the end, if the genre is important—noise, electronica, free jazz, post-bop, avant-garde. What is important is that it’s good, so good I find myself, at times, shuddering in a sort of awe, as if I should get unshod and avert my mortal eyes."