Kenny Clarke was a jazz drummer and an early innovator of the BeBop style of drumming. As the house drummer at Minton's Playhouse in the early 1940s, he participated in the after hours jams that led to the birth of modern jazz. He is credited with creating the modern role of the ride cymbal as the primary timekeeper. Before, drummers kept time on the snare drum ("digging coal", Clarke called it) with heavy support from the bass drum. With Clarke time was played on the cymbal and the bass and snare were used more for punctuation. For this, "every drummer" Ed Thigpen said, "owes him a debt of gratitude." Clarke was nicknamed "Klook" or "Klook-mop" for the style he innovated.
Along with Max Roach, Kenny Clarke was one of the definitive drummers of jazz's original bebop movement. By the time of the BOHEMIA AFTER DARK sessions (in June 1955), Clarke was firmly established as a bandleader. He probably didn't know it at the time but Clarke also made jazz history here, as BOHEMIA marks the recording debut of the soulful Adderley brothers–alto sax heavyweight Cannonball and ace cornetist/composer Nat. The brothers also contributed several tunes as well. This session is earnestly swinging bop with very good early-career work from pianist Horace Silver and bassist Paul Chambers.