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Nigel Clark

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Scottish acoustic guitarist Nigel Clark is a very flexible jazzman who can handle straight-ahead bop and post-bop as well as crossover/pop-jazz. Although instrumental jazz is Clark's primary focus, he is not a jazz snob or a jazz purist. Clark, whose influences range from Django Reinhardt, Jim Hall, and Joe Pass to Spanish flamenco great Paco de Lucia and Brazilian virtuoso Laurindo Almeida, has also played rock, pop, and modern Celtic sounds and is quite willing to incorporate elements of Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, Spanish, or Indian music. Born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1957, Clark grew up in that city and started playing and studying the acoustic guitar when he was in his early teens. Gypsy swing innovator Reinhardt was an early influence, but Clark also listened to a lot of rock, pop, and Celtic music when he was growing up. In the mid-'80s, Clark moved to Brighton, England, and played with a lot of local bop musicians in that seaside town. Clark knew that jazz would be his specialty, but he was open to rock and pop gigs. In 1987, he returned to Glasgow and became the guitarist/arranger for Hue & Cry, a Scottish band that brought jazz overtones to its pop/rock foundation. Clark stayed with Hue & Cry until 1991; the following year, he was employed as a sideman by Maire Brennan, who is best-known for her work as lead singer of the Celtic band Clannad. (Brennan is also the older sister of new age vocalist Enya). In the late '90s, Clark became a sideman for another Scottish singer, Carol Kidd, appearing on some of her albums and touring with her extensively. But while the guitarist was happy to play rock, pop, or modern Celtic music as a sideman, his own albums have focused on instrumental jazz. Clark's first album as a leader, Worldwide Sound, came out on the Sienna label in 1997 and featured jazz instrumentalists like British pianist Brian Kellock (who has also played with Hue & Cry), saxophonist Tim Garland, and drummer Mike Bradley. Worldwide Sound wasn't released in the United States, although it did well in England and Scotland. Clark produced his second album, Grand Hotel Europa, in Scotland in 1999 and 2000; that album became his first American release when the New York-based Arkadia Jazz released it in the U.S. in 2001.

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