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Dr. Clark's

Current Research

Dissertation published in May 2019


The purpose of this study is to provide a historiographical and musical analysis examining the jazz ride cymbal pattern, from its inception on woodblock, small accessory cymbals, hand cymbal mechanisms and brushes through what becomes known as the modern-day ride cymbal pattern. This research examines a wide array of drummers and bandleaders, with the objective of identifying the earliest recordings of this important addition to jazz drumming, and popular music history while analyzing the ride cymbal pattern's evolution through definitive recordings. The study begins with the earliest known recordings that clearly display the pattern as it is played on any of the instruments mentioned above.


The research concludes with the jam sessions of the early 1940s at Minton's Playhouse, where the pioneer of bebop drumming, Kenny Clarke, experimented with altering the pattern. At this point, the pattern reach its final level of maturity and has since experienced no subsequent major modification. The historical and geographical analysis uses relevant literature from the field of jazz history in order to interpret and evaluate the impact of the the overall trajectory of the music and players. By surveying newspaper and magazine articles, archival interviews, and photographic sources, combined with audio and film analysis, it is clear that drummers navigated a path to the maturation of the pattern.

Click here to access the full dissertation.

JENX 2021 Research Poster Presentation

An in depth analysis of Monk's drummers

An ongoing research project that studies drummers that played with Thelonious Monk throughout his career. This work goes into depth on topics: ride cymbal patterns, comping styles, soloing, and vocabulary.

Drummers analyzed include: Art Blakey, Frankie Dunlop, Shadow Wilson, Ben Riley, Billy Higgins, Roy Haynes

Click here for an in depth look at the study.


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