John Clark, Song of Light–Memories of Horn Calls Past: My First Issue of The Horn Call, Part VI


One feature of The Horn Call for many years has been reviews of new books and recordings. My first issue had a special, guest record review by Douglas Hill of Song of Light by John Clark. I bought it and this jazz horn recording certainly remains one of my all time favorite recordings. Of it Hill wrote,

John Clark, a New York free-lance musician … has just produced one of the only jazz horn recordings which no one need make any excuses for. There is little, if any, hint of the clumsiness which so often plagued the earlier jazz hornists. John is a refined and agile player with a wealth of feelings and messages to convey.

The several tunes on this recording are all his original compositions and are generally quite varied with a bent toward the jazz/rock idiom. There is an abundance of multiple track over-dubbing and electronic manipulation of the horn sound, including a wah-wah pedal, phase shifter, and use of analog delay. None of this detracts but is all used to heighten the incredibly impressive improvisatory abilities of John Clark.

So I bought it! I listened to it over and over, the screaming high notes, the overdubs, etc. all caught my attention for sure, and even now I pull the LP out probably once a month. He is playing a descant horn in it so the sound is a bit different than a standard double horn but great for the type of jazz on the album.

There were other reviews as well, but this one for me stood out from the crowd. So far as I can tell there are no samples of this album online and it is not available as a download which is a shame, it really is a fine album. For more on John Clark visit his Wikipedia page or his website.

When we return to this series it will be to conclude with some notes from Prof. Hubley.

UPDATE: Want to buy a copy of Song of Light? The cover image above is copied from the page in the website of John Clark where you can buy the title track as a download! Check it out.

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