logo picture Seleno Clarke

photo of Seleno Clarke About Seleno

If the soul had an engine, it might sound like the amazing Hammond "B3" Organ. Seleno Clarke began his mastery of the instrument with its plugged in gospel feeling in the early 60's when organ ensembles were the rage, and pumped up soul jazz reverberated in the best Harlem clubs. With Leslie speakers to impart the organ's unique vibrato, "B3" artists not only inspired church goers to worship, but also night clubbers to jump up and dance.

Raised in the Washington D.C. and the Maryland area, Seleno first learned music from this grandfather, a professor at Lincoln University. Following this studies at Carver College where he focused on playing alto and tenor saxophone he decided to move to New York. In the 60s he made his living playing saxophone in all the clubs in the Harlem loop (including the Apollo) and downtown. Seleno and Kenny Dorham were two of the last artist to play the famous Minton's Playhouse

Throughout his career, Seleno's magnetism as a leader and entertainer has drawn many upcoming artists to play with him. Legends like the late Grant Green and stars like George Benson have also appeared frequently as special guests with Seleno's bands. The long list of other players who have played with him also includes Melvin Sparks, Jimmy Ponder, Jessie Hameen, Mark Whitfield and Russell Malone.

Seleno tours with various exciting ensembles. For example, in October '96 when he bought his quintet to The Cork Jazz Festival in Ireland, Seleno's group was one of the most critically acclaimed, standing room only, encore playing smash hits of the festival.

George Benson produced Seleno's quintet CD, "Diversity". This extraordinary recording expresses both the roots of his creative vision and his exhilarating contemporary sound, Seleno always chooses band members who are top-notch improvisers who are as in synch with Seleno's swinging groove as they are fresh in their solo concepts.

World class organ ensembles are rare on the music scene in the year 2002. The Hammond "B3" organ (no longer manufactured) has become and endangered species. Today, many organ players content themselves with digitally mastered sound. Seleno Clarke owns plays and handles the complex demands of a genuine Hammond "B3" Organ.