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The Clarke / Duke Project

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Editors’ Notes

Released at a time when artists like Herbie Hancock were starting to blur the lines between jazz, funk, rock, and the emerging style of hip-hop, this 1981 collaboration from Stanley Clarke and George Duke exemplifies a period of intense cross-pollination. Led by “Sweet Baby”—an effortless pop confection that became a surprise Top 20 hit—The Clarke/Duke Project is a concise display from two musicians best known for expansive solos. In its mixture of tuneful funk (“I Just Want to Love You,” “Let’s Get Started”) and playful rock (“Louie, Louie,” “Winners,” “Finding My Way”), the album adopts the vision of new wave funk that Prince had introduced the previous year with Dirty Mind. While Prince may have had better songwriting chops, Clarke and Duke had musical training that elevated even the simplest pop tunes. While these two jazz veterans succeeded in cracking the code for pop success, the album’s centerpiece is the beautifully idiosyncratic “Never Judge a Cover by Its Book,” which belongs to a long tradition of trippy Duke instrumentals.

Customer Reviews


This album is smoothe, cool, and guarenteed to set you dancin'.

Favorite Clarke/Duke Album

This is my favorite album, with most songs appealing to your jazzy mood. I believe "Sweet Baby" became a hit here. This is one of the better jazz collaboration albums I've heard.

Project II

A good album, but Project II is better,...where is it ?


Born: June 30, 1951 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A brilliant player on both acoustic and electric basses, Stanley Clarke has spent much of his career outside of jazz, although he has the ability to play jazz with the very best. He played accordion as a youth, switching to violin and cello before settling on bass. He worked with R&B and rock bands in high school, but after moving to New York he worked with Pharoah Sanders in the early '70s. Other early gigs were with Gil Evans, Mel Lewis, Horace Silver, Stan Getz, Dexter Gordon, and Art Blakey;...
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