Clark Sommers, bass

Clark Sommers

Grammy award winning bassist and composer Clark Sommers cut his teeth on the Chicago jazz scene in the mid 1990’s playing with local heroes Lin Halliday, Jodie Christian, Von Freeman, Ron Perrillo, Bobby Broom and Dana Hall, among others. He has had the privilege of touring the world with jazz vocalist Kurt Elling since 2008 and has performed for audiences in cities around the globe, from Chicago to Tokyo. Clark can be heard on seven Elling recordings including “Dedicated to You” and “Secrets are the best Stories” featuring Danilo Perez and Miguel Zenon, both of which won the Grammy for Best Vocal Jazz Album in 2009 and 2021, respectively.

When not on the road with Kurt Elling, Clark is engaged in leading his own bands, Ba(SH) and the Lens Project. He has released four albums as a leader, the latest “Peninsula” featuring longtime collaborators Dana Hall and Geof Bradfield was released in the Spring of 2020. The group's first recording, eponymously titled Ba(SH), was released in August 2013 and has received critical acclaim. It was acknowledged on the "notable and not to be missed" list by All About Jazz of that same year. In 2017, he released his second recording as a band-leader, featuring all original compositions entitled the Clark Sommers Lens Project “By A Thread”. Released on the Ears and Eyes record label, the recording features Kendrick Scott on drums, Jeff Parker on guitar and Gary Versace on organ. Clark also composes and plays bass in Typical Sisters, a trio including Los Angeles based guitarist Greg Uhlmann and Copenhagen based drummer Matt Carroll and has been featured in The New York Times and Best of Band Camp playlist. The group released its third album, “Love Beam” in Spring, 2021. Clark has also had the privilege of performing and recording with Portland pianist and composer Darrell Grant in his “Territory” and “Step by Step” ensembles with Brian Blade, Joe Locke and Steve Wilson.

Sommers completed his undergraduate degree in Jazz Studies and World Music at the California Institute of the Arts in 2002, where he studied with bass icon Charlie Haden. In June 2021 he completed his Master’s degree in Jazz Composition at DePaul University. Clark makes his home in the Chicagoland area and can be heard weekly performing with groups led by gifted artists Dana Hall, Geof Bradfield, Adam Larson, John Wojciechowski, Chris Madsen, Scott Hesse, Nick Mazzarella and The Chicago Yestet.