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The Stanley Clarke Band

Stanley Clarke

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Album Review

The 2010 self-titled release by the Stanley Clarke Band is aptly titled; it actually feels more like a band record than anything he's done in decades. This isn't saying that Clarke's solo work is somehow less than, but when he surrounds himself with musicians that are all prodigies in their own right, the end results tend to be more satisfying. Produced by Clarke and Lenny White, his band is made up Compton double-kick drum maestro Ronald Bruner, Jr., Israeli pianist/keyboardist Ruslan Sirota, and pianist Hiromi Uehara (aka Hiromi) who plays selectively but is considered a member. There are guests, too, including a horn section, a couple of guitarists in Rob Bacon and Charles Altura, and saxophonist Bob Sheppard. Clarke plays his usual arsenal of basses. Sirota and Hiromi also contribute compositions to the album. They include the former's set opener "Soldier." While its intro is quiet and melodic enough, it evolves, first into a modal study with Clarke playing the melody before it kicks into jazz-rock overdrive with Altura playing a distorted rhythm guitar to Clarke's Alembic tenor bass. Dynamics shift and turn; they make the track a multi-faceted investigation with Sirota's piano solo sourcing both McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock. Hiromi's "Labyrinth" melds elements of "My Favorite Things" to modern post-bop and classical architectures; the breakbeats by Bruner add a funky touch, and Clarke's layered basses become a focal foil for the piano. There is also an updated reading of Chick Corea's "No Mystery," from Clarke's days with Return to Forever, that captures the tune's near transcendent curiosity without trying to re-create it. The drama brought by Clarke's bass is tense and declamatory. "Sonny Rollins" contains the theme from "Don't Stop the Carnival" and is Caribbean-flavored, but pays tribute to the saxophonist's entire career. Written by Clarke, it contains wonderfully knotty passages on acoustic as well as electric basses; Sheppard's fine soloing and fills make it a jumper. "I Wanna Play for You Too" is funkily self-explanatory for Clarke fans, while "Bass Folk Song #10" is a gorgeous solo piece. "Fulani" is an excellent piece of contemporary fusion, where "Larry Has Traveled 11 Miles and Waited a Lifetime for the Return of Vishnu's Report," dedicated to Joe Zawinul, is a clumsy, failed attempt at summing up the music's history to date. The ballads, including "Bass Folk Song No. 6," which closes the set, work less well, but these are minor complaints on an otherwise fine recording.

Customer Reviews

Totally Refreshing!

I've been a collector of Stanley Clarke's works from the 80's until now, and I must say that once again Stanley Clarke has not ceased to amaze me with the masterful way in which he uses the canvas of music. Stanley Clarke and The Stanley Clarke Band's sound paintings, if you will, are totally awesome! Thank you Stanley Clarke and Band for the sound voyage. I simply love this new addition to the collection!

The Bumping Thumb Strikes Again

Stanley has 'been playing for you for a few decades now... His bumping thumb has amazed the jazz & fusion world with classic after classic. I'm thrilled with this new release from the Bass Miestro. It's a diverse easy to listen to fun filled Jazz album. put it on, Turn up the Volume - Nudge the Bass up a notch & get ready for some FUN! Thanks Stanley - Hiromi - Ruslan & Roland Bruner Jr. This one's a special one. SCB Sparkles indeed. Cheers (**,)

The Clarke Edge!!!

Great to see this masterpiece made just before his tour with Return To Forever. This has an edge to it that puts Stanley into another zone! Well done by the #1 bassist. It was a huge bonus to see Stanley play School Days with RTF while in the front row in Cleveland! I'm still in heaven.

Biography

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;...
Full Bio
The Stanley Clarke Band, Stanley Clarke
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Contemporary Jazz, Fusion
  • Released: Jun 15, 2010

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