Spectrum Band Continues Earl Clark Legacy

Contributing Writer



There can be no doubt. Earl Clark is smiling approvingly on the members of his jazz-fusion band, Spectrum, for their decision to carry on without him. The legendary Tulsa jazzman died June 28.

“Earl Clark can never be replaced but we, the members of the band, all knew one thing for sure: he would have wanted the band to continue,” says Jon Terry, longtime manager for Spectrum. “Earl never gave up or missed a gig in the years we worked together. It would have been an insult to his legacy to quit.”

So, a little over four months after the jazz icon’s untimely death, the band goes on. But it’s much more than just a band, it’s a family.

Some of the musicians in Spectrum have been with the band for over 20 years, so long for some that they have to really stop and think about when they weren’t playing in Spectrum.

The youngest member, lead vocalist Starr Fisher, was discovered by Clark when she was just 15 and in a talent contest at the Tulsa State Fair. She’s now in her early 30s and has been with him ever since.

“Mr. Clark is the reason I’m performing. He was my mentor,” says Fisher, a former Miss Black Oklahoma who recently returned from her own gig at The Mirage Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. “He truly took me under his wing and helped me develop my stage presence.”

There are no hesitations in Fisher’s admiration for Clark whom she calls “Mr. Clark” out of her extreme respect. For other band members he was Earl – their leader, a brother, teacher, co-hort and more.

“I spent time with him nearly every day,” says drummer Spike Gore. “He was like a big brother to me and I swear I still see him sometimes.”

Speaking fondly of their leader, the members commented on the influence Clark had on many Tulsa musicians.

“It was almost a rite of passage to work with Earl Clark at some point in their career,” says Gore. “Earl loved to help and promote new talent.”

The band, which clearly has great fun together, is also firmly in agreement on one thing: they’re available.

“You’ll still have the great, well-rounded show that Spectrum has become known for,” says Mike Leland, another band member. “We’ve all picked up different aspects of what Earl did and, of course, lent our own style and talent. We stay true to the name of the band in that we will cover many styles of music.”

Terry, owner of Productions of Tulsa, says Spectrum is a unique band that is maintaining the easy-going style Clark promoted.

“Backstage there isn’t pre-show nervousness or an edge, it’s all laughter and camaraderie. This band has fun together on stage which makes it fun for the audience. That’s hard to come by.”

Fronted by Fisher, band members include Gore on drums, Leland on keyboard, Mike McClure on guitar, Loren Stidham on bass and Wilson Conde on congas.
Though missing their lost friend, the band looks forward to honoring Clark with continuing the legacy.

Spectrum can be booked through Terry at at 918-492-2503 or jonterry@swbell.net.

Updated 11-22-2010

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