Zack Clarke

Pianist and composer Zack Clarke has received international acclaim for his explorations of jazz improvisation, classical, and electronic music. Random Acts of Order, his debut release on Clean Feed Records, gained recognition as a notable work in both US and international publications, including Freejazzblog critic Rick Joines’ Top Ten for 2017 and the Best of Improvisation from Italy’s Percosi Musicali. He has also appeared in the top pianist selection by Gregory Applegate Edwards in the 2017 El Intruso International Critics’ Poll.  Zack’s second release on the Clean Feed label, entitled Mesophase, has drawn acclaim for its ability to unite through-composed ensemble performance, electronic music and improvisation in a captivating defiance of musical convention. Vertical Shores, his third album featuring jazz trio, was released in 2019, earning mention as a notable new release in the 14th Annual NPR Jazz Critics Poll.

Random Acts of Order

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Vertical Shores

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Historically it has been artists who’ve made this kind of music. Here, in the immediate present, on this great recording led by Zack Clarke’s direction, beautiful work on piano and electronics, he and his colleagues, all young, deep, brave, talented artists lead the way forward. — Joe Morris
Zack Clarke

Zack Clarke is a pianist and composer living and working in New York City.  Random Acts of Order, his debut album on Clean Feed Records, was released in 2017, followed by his 2018 release of the electro-acoustic album Mesophase.  His third album, Vertical Shores, was released in 2019.  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 and electronic music; 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 and has appeared before audiences in the US, 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.


Encuesta 2017 — Periodistas Internacionales

Critic: Gregory Applegate Edwards, Piano Category read more>

Best of 2017, Percosi Musicali (Italy)

Improvisation Category read more>

2017 Top Ten List, Freejazzblog

Critic: Rick Joines read more>

Best of 2018,Acoustic Levitation

Critic: Steve Koenigread more>

Encuesta 2019 — Periodistas Internacionales

Critic: Zlatan Dimitrijevic, Piano Category

14th Annual Jazz Critics Poll

Top 10 New Releases of 2019 Critic: Martin Longley

Best of 2019 — Jazz Portugal de 2019 Critic: Giancalo Falcao



Zack Clarke pulls out the plug for the piano trio on Vertical Shores and follows the egalitarian models of forerunners such as Bill Evans and Paul Bley by allowing his colleagues equal agency in the edgy interaction he promotes. 

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Un disco in piano trio veramente lodevole, come per buona sorte ci capita di ascoltarne non poi così di rado, in tempi recenti. Il che, per una formula che potrebbe apparire consunta e priva di sbocchi, non è davvero rilievo di poco conto. Album della settimana.

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With double bassist Kim Cass and drummer Dre Hocevar as engaged co-pilots, Zack Clarke continues his bold reimagining of the jazz piano trio tradition on his third release for Clean Feed. A stellar follow-up to the earlier Random Acts of Order and Mesophase releases… 

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Clarke’s prismatic creative streaks and multifaceted regimen proposes a host of captivating aspects to coincide with the implications set forth by the album title. He possesses an arsenal of ultramodern concepts and is most certainly one to watch. 

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Clarke gives us a heaping dose of playful detritus that defies any previously hinted-at conventions. It simply sends chills. 

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Like its predecessor, Mesophase achieves a rapprochement between disparate forces that’s both fascinating and startling.  

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The best thing about listening to new music is hearing something that outright confounds.  

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. . . what Clarke and his group have made here is equal parts enthralling and unsettling. 

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This never-ending cycle of deconstruction-unity is pretty damn fascinating. 

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. . . an inveterate explorer who likes to push musical boundaries by distilling his creative ideas into new music.

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On this showing it’s clear that this is a triumvirate of names to watch out for in the future. 

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The interplay between the trio is euphoric, aggressive. This group respects tradition but they’re not afraid to burn it down. They can play sweet as a gang of harpists, then buzz, furious as bees.

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This is a free trio with a decided difference. Henry Fraser is the double bassist, Dre Hocevar the drummer, and they both contribute much to the outcome. But it is Clarke’s pianism that especially wins me over.

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liner notes for Random Acts of Order

Although the three musicians on this recording are in their 20s, the playing on this recording is mature. It isn’t burdened by unnecessary contrived complexity. Instead, it relies on the precision of listening, collective engagement, and the courage to do something different.

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These considerations can be a good starting point for analyzing the onset of Clean Feed the young American pianist Zack Clarke, who is launching a trio of Henry Fraser on bass and on drums Dre Hocevar: its Random Acts of order is among the best music publications. 

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. . . an inveterate explorer who likes to push musical boundaries by distilling his creative ideas into new music.

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No Events

Past Performances

March 1 @ 7:00

Turtle Bay Music School Artist Series

with Nathan Bellot, saxophone;
and Chris Irvine, cello


January 20 @ 8:00

Jazz Habitat

with Leo Galaganov,

Evan Crane and Welf Dorr


December 9 @ 7:00

El Barrio Art Space

Zack Clarke Ensemble
with Charlotte Greve, Chis Irvine,
Leo Galaganov
 and Evan Crane


November 30 @ 7:00

Happy Lucky #1

Zack Clarke, solo


September 12 @ 9:15

Happy Lucky #1

Zack Clarke Ensemble
with Charlotte Greve, Chis Irvine,
Leo Galaganov
 and Evan Crane


August 8 @ 11:00

Rockwood Music Hall

with Ken Ychicawa


August 2 @ 9:00

Pete’s Candy Store

with Ken Ychicawa


May 25

Turtle Bay

with Chris Irvine and Nathan Bellote


May 18 @ 7:00


Aurelius Cloud


May 2 @7:00

Shapeshifter Lab

Aurelius Cloud


April 30 @ 10:00

Bushwick Public House

Techeser Holmes Quartet


 February 24


Zack Clarke Trio

with Dre Hocevar and Kim Cass


February 19  8:15 PM

Shapeshifter Lab

with Dre Hocevar, James Brandon Lewis and Max Johnson


 December 17

Glass Box Theater

New School

with Alex Louloudis and Lester St. Louis


October 29

Cornelia Street Cafe  6:00 PM


with Stephanie Lamprea, Charlotte Munn,
Adam Bilchik and Christine Papania


October 19

New School Glass Box Theater



Spectrum   7:00 PM


with Stephanie Lamprea, Charlotte Munn,
Adam Bilchik and Christine Papania


July 16

Shapeshifter Lab

Premiere of Communer

electronic and acoustic quintet


July 9

The Footlight Improvisations

Brooklyn, NY


June 8 – 10

Burlington Jazz Festival

Burlington, VT


June 4

Figment NYC


June 2

Greenpoint Gallery


May 28

Rockwood Music Hall,
Stage One


May 25

Recording Session
Wombat Studio


May 12

Private Event

Houston, TX


April 25

Recording Session

Park West Studios


March 29

Pianos Upstairs

duo with Walker Adams


March 21

Bowery Poetry Club

Solo Piano  6:00 – 8:00pm


March 15

Rockwood Music Hall

with Quinton Zoto and Walker Adams


March 14

Pianos Upstairs

with Walker Adams | Duo with drums and Juno Synthesizer


February 27

Shapeshifter Labs, Solo Piano


February 9

Ecuador Jazz Festival, Quito, Ecuador

Teatro Nacional Sucre  7:30 pm/with Koyari and Luis Castro


February 7

Garua Cafe, Quito, Ecuador with Koyari

October 30

Spectrum, with Logan Strosahl, Robin Betton and Sam Lisbeth


October 14

La Casa Musica, Quito, Ecuador; with Luis Castro, Marta delGrande and Koyari


October 11

El Pobre Diablo, Quito, Ecuador; with Luis Castro, Marta delGrande and Koyari


September 21

Spectrum, with The Zack Clarke Trio


July 11, 18

NYU, Jazz Masterclass with Billy Drewes


July 7-9

with Tyshawn Sorey’s Conduction Orchestra, The Stone


July 1

Gold Sounds, Brooklyn


June 22

Dialectic, with Chris Irvine, Spectrum


May 6  9:00

with Sam Pluta and Jeremy Corren, Spectrum


March 18  7:00

Solo performance, Spectrum


March 14  7:00

Zack Clarke Trio, Spectrum


February 28  7:00

Solo performance, Shapeshifter Labs

Dre Hocevar Large Ensemble 8:00 PM


February 7  7:00

with dre Hocevar, Spectrum


January 30

Shapeshifter Labs

with Dre Hocevar Large Ensemble

November 21   5:00 PM;  Nov 22  2:00 PM

Hudson Guild Theater — Upsurge Choreography Platform II

Dance performance featuring pieces from Music for Headphones and Dialectic

Christina D’Arrigo, choreographer


November 8   1:00 – 3:00 PM

Cleveland Cello Society; conducting workshop on improvisation


November 6   8:00

The Bop Stop |  Cleveland, OH

Performance of Dialectic


October 31   9:00

The Living Room


October 17   7:00

Private Concert — performance of Dialectic with Chris Irvine

Upper West Side


September 28   7:00

Why Not Jazz Room  with Jeremy Warren and The Rudiment


September 21   9:30

Shapshifter with Dre Hocevar


August 23   9:30

Shapshifter with Sana Nagano

December 7

Kimmel Theater


December 4

Ella Lounge


November 12



November 8



October 10

Ella lounge


October 9

Pips Art Gallery


October 5



October 2nd

Santos party house


September 28

Midway cafe, Boston


September 14 and 21



September 13

The Stanton S


September 7  with Dangermen

Pianos,  158 Ludlow St  @TBD


August 31

Douglas Street


August 17



August 10

With Brad Mulholland Group

Pianos,  158 Ludlow St  @TBD


July 6

With Daniel Carter, Leonid Galaganov, Sung Ho Choi and Evan Crane

Downtown Music Gallery,  13 Monroe Street


July 5


Pianos,  158 Ludlow St


June 8 & 15

Dan Kirfirst Trio

Lavo,  39 E 58th St


May 22


The Firehouse,  246 Frost St, Brooklyn  @ 9:00 PM


May 22

With Luis Castro

123W 71st @ 7:00 PM


May 17

With Billy Drewes

Provincetown Playhouse @ 7:00 PM


April 23

With Billy Drewes

The Firehouse,  246 Frost St, Brooklyn  @ 9:00 PM


April 22

With Daniel Carter and Leo Galaganov

3rd North, NYU @ 8:00 PM


April 22

With The Zack Clarke Trio

3rd North, NYU @ 7:00 PM


March 2


The Firehouse,  246 Frost St, Brooklyn  @ 9:00 PM