The Louisville Courier-Journal writes, "Clark's playing mixed technical brilliance and beautifully personal expressions…" and "…saxophonist Dave Clark, one of the brightest players in town…"
The music of New Hope C.M.E. Church in his hometown of Pine Bluff, AR, is where Dave remembers his first musical experience. "My hometown is a small city in south-central Arkansas. The first music that I can remember was sung at little New Hope Church. I couldn't have been more than four or five years old. The choir was singing and everybody was fully present & in the moment. Tears welled up in my eyes and I felt something that I could not explain at the time. My mother looked at me, held me close and said, `Don’t be afraid, you’ll understand soon enough`. I have never forgotten that feeling of peace, love, joy, perseverance, and God's spirit in full bloom. I have been chasing that same feeling in my own music ever since."
Dave began playing violin in sixth grade and saxophone in seventh grade. Having played both throughout public school, he studied saxophone performance at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas, received a BM in music education and a MM in jazz performance from the University of Louisville in Kentucky. While at Ouachita, he was introduced to jazz and cites Charlie Parker, Johnny Hodges, and Branford Marsalis as major influences. As a student at U of L, Dave won the school’s Concerto Competition where he performed the Glazounov Saxophone Concerto and received a Certificate of Merit for Outstanding Performance at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival. Dave has had the good fortune to study with Harry Pickens, Don Braden, Wessell Anderson, Sim Flora, John LaBarbera and Branford Marsalis.
Dave has performed with such diverse artists as Benny Golson, Clark Terry, Randy Brecker, Stanley Turrentine, James Moody, Kevin Mahogany, Harry Pickens, Nancy Wilson, Miles Griffith, the Louisville Orchestra, the Dells, and Delfeayo Marsalis. Dave has performed at the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy, the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Montreaux, Switzerland, and opened concerts for Eric Reed, Dave Brubeck, and Herb Ellis. He has also performed multiple times at the Jazz Educators Network Conference and as part of a good will tour and educational exchange program in Barbados.
Dave makes his home in Louisville, KY, where he is the head of the Jazz Studies program at Bellarmine University. His duties include teaching saxophone, jazz harmony, jazz history, improvisation, and directing Bellarmine's Nouveau Gumbo ensemble. Dave also serves on the faculty of Jamey Aebersold's Summer Jazz Camps, and maintains a busy performance schedule having performed numerous times at Kentucky Center's Jazz Cabaret, Jazz in Central Park, the Louisville Jazz and Blues Festival at the Water Tower, the Jazz Factory and Derby Dinner Playhouse. Dave is an Endorsing Artist for Yanagisawa Saxophones and is currently working on a new recording project & a transcription book of soprano saxophonist/clarinetist Sidney Bechet.