Mr. Free SpiritMusic

What Makes Dante Tick? People Like Chris Clarke – R.I.P.


Question:  What makes Dante Tick?  Answer:  People

A Dante Production has been providing shows in Florida for 4 years this month. Since starting the company again, I have met many people, both as friends and as artists. I have learned so many lessons about the acceptance of people at their level, not mine. A Dante Production currently has 26 people working with the company and we have developed a Family working relationship.

One person I met was a mind-blower.  He was talented and could not get a foothold he deserved in the music world. Please take a minute and read his bio below:

Biography of Chris Clarke

A native Jamaican, Clarke was raised and educated in New York, where he studied classical piano at Julliard and jazz at The Manhattan School of Music.  He later attended Berklee School of Music, Boston before joining the U. S . Army. 

Settling in Kansas City, Clarke learned Kansas city-style jazz at the Charlie Parker Institute, mentored by K.C. greats like Claude “Fiddler” Williams, Frank Smith, Coots Dye, and Ahmaad Alaadeen, among others.  He started playing at the Mutual Musicians Foundation in 1993, where he has been playing ever since; he has performed with noted greats such as Bobby Watson, Alaadeen, Carmell Jones, Art Frank and Stanley Turrentine.  Clarke has performed and recorded with numerous artists and was filmed in Robert Altman’s ”Kansas City” and Ken Burns’ Jazz.  He was among the musicians featured in the soundtrack for Robert Altman’s Kansas City and its follow-up release, The Music of Kansas City. His proficiency has placed Clarke on stage and in studio alongside such talents as Arthur Prysock, Hank Crawford, Eddie Harris, Luqman Hamza, Lisa Henry, Angela Hagenbach, The Pete Eye Trio, and the McFadden Brothers.  He is a composer and has recorded his original works.

 In 2018, Chris and I developed an interesting friendship, we talked constantly and disagreed just as much. One minute we would disagree on something and five minutes later you would never know we disagreed.

It was my goal the make sure this genius got his due. Well, things changed:

        The Loss of Chris Clarke

Some words come easy, and others are harder.  As CEO of A Dante Production, I was with Chris via video on the same night he had to be taken to the hospital. I usually do not answer my phone after 11:00 PM; however, I answered at 12:10 AM to be told that Chris was en route to the hospital. I was shocked and did not know how to react.  The Jazz of the Ages show was scheduled for that night at 7:30 PM.  Of course, I canceled the show. Days later, my good friend was no longer with us.

Chris and I talked every day, sometimes twice a day. I am still devastated and lost for words. However, we all must leave at some point.

No matter what one believes when it comes to death and dying, we know that the grief experienced by the living left behind can be overwhelming and debilitating.  We should not forget that everyone grieves differently, and no one can tell us how to do it, how long to do it, and that we are doing it wrong. One of the things I like to do is an honoring ceremony of a loved one, and the ritual of the honoring helps with my grief.

Therefore, A Dante Production is developing a video collage of our times with Chris for all to see what we will miss.

This COLLAGE will be an artistic, musical composition made of various videos of the genius at work. It will be housed on our website P2V.

I will always remember a person that made such an impact in my life.

R.I.P. My Brother

Chauncey Dunham
A Dante Production, LLC

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