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EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Stanley Clarke: The Complete 1970s Epic Albums Collection

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Stanley ClarkeThe Complete 1970s Epic Albums CollectionLegacy Recordings2012Legacy Recordings' recent spate of Complete Albums Collection box sets have righted a whole slew of wrongs by bringing long out-of-print recordings back in a reasonably priced and tidily collected series. They may be relatively light on production values--simple clamshell-style boxes, mini-LP cardboard sleeves, and booklets whose information, beyond detailed track and personnel listings, is largely dependent upon how much the artist has to say, if anything at all--but the opportunity to collect an entire discography from a specific period in time is plenty compelling ...

INTERVIEWS

Stanley Clarke: Path Maker

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Innovation is a cherished quality in any art form and, truth be told, some follow greatness while others create the patterns that make that same greatness possible. There are teachers, and then, there are students. In jazz, musicians skilled in all sorts of instruments tend to look at their older peers in amazement, and challenges within their very souls are triggered and fed by an almost supernatural need to be unique; for only those who manage to be unique will make greatness their lawful residence. Bassist Stanley Clarke is definitely part of that elite of innovators; the path makers.

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Stanley Clarke: The Stanley Clarke Band

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Stanley ClarkeThe Stanley Clarke BandHeads Up International2010 Stanley Clarke is still playing the bass the way he wants to, still pulling sounds out of his assortment of electric, acoustic and Alembic basses like nobody else, and still slapping, plucking and thumbing his way through contemporary, fusion jazz, rock, funk and whatever else he puts his mind to.Clarke honed his craft working with pianist Horace Silver, saxophonists Gato Barbieri and Pharoah Sanders and drummer Art Blakey among others before keyboard player Chick Corea grabbed him for Return to Forever. Clarke enjoys ...

LIVE REVIEWS

McCoy Tyner Quartet / Stanley Clarke Quartet Featuring Hiromi

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McCoy Tyner Quarter / Stanley Clarke Band Featuring Hiromi CareFusion Jazz Festival, Central Park Summerstage New York, NY June 23, 2010

Contrary to what had been announced, pianist McCoy Tyner's all-star Quartet took to the stage with a very syncopated number, led by tenor saxophonist Ravi Coltrane. Bassist Esperanza Spalding followed his grooves with clever arpeggios, while drummer Francisco Mela accented his notes with incredible precision. The tune had a bit of a Latin vibe, which got Spalding into a certain comfort zone that allowed her to find her own place and develop ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, and Lenny White: Forever Fine in Dusseldorf

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Corea, Clarke, and White Tonhalle Dusseldorf, Germany November 4, 2009 An acoustic visit by these long journeying, top tier collaborators brought fresh perspective to their work, and thus to both the ups and downs of a widely touted gig. Happily, for the relatively small crowd, there were far more ups than downs. While most reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, not everything has been roses for CCW since their guest and star-studded kickoff at the Hollywood Bowl. They have had amazing, widespread and busy recent schedules, including triumphant tours with the Return to ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Stanley Clarke Trio: Live at Catalina's

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Stanley Clarke TrioCatalina Bar and GrillHollywood, CAOctober 7, 2009

When bassist Stanley Clarke gathered drummer Lenny White and piano phenom Hiromi together last December to do his first-ever trio album, Jazz In The Garden (Telarc, 2009), no one knew quite what to expect.

Hiromi was clearly a new kid on the block, at least in this straight-ahead context. Clarke and White were both veterans who had been playing these notes since before she was born.The question was whether a fusionista like Hiromi could be brought successfully into a musical ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Stanley Clarke Trio at The Blue Note

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Stanley Clarke Trio Blue Note Jazz Club New York Oct. 13, 2009

Playing before a sold-out crowd on the first of their two-night engagement at New York's Blue Note Jazz Club, the Stanley Clarke Trio got things going with “Three Wrong Notes," a straight-ahead ragtime-inspired tune. The tune at first featured Hiromi Uehara, who attacked the keys of her piano with gusto, often leaping from her bench while smiling with her eyes closed, as she went through tunes from her first collaboration with longtime rhythm masters Clarke and Lenny White. For their ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Stanley Clarke: Jazz in the Garden

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Bassist Stanley Clarke has explored many musical genres throughout his storied career, crossing and re-crossing musical boundaries to collaborate with everyone from Art Blakey and Joe Henderson to Chick Corea and Al Di Meola. So it's surprising that Jazz in the Garden is his maiden voyage as the leader of an acoustic band. Clarke's stylistic diversity is on display throughout this album. He uses his famous fret slapping technique during his solo on “Paradigm Shift." Pianist Hiromi blends block chords and arpeggios fluidly, with drummer Lenny White adding sparkling cymbal highlights. Clarke's plucking on the lovely folk ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Corea, Clarke and White at Toronto's Koerner Hall

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Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Lenny WhiteKoerner HallToronto, ONSeptember 2009

Koerner Hall, the sumptuous and spiffy new concert hall at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, celebrated the second day of its grand opening festival with a sold-out jazz program to demonstrate the organizers' willingness to provide different musical genres to the vast metropolitan community. Audience members of all ages admired the new performance center.Some of the jazz-rock fusion legends making up Return to Forever (RTF)--Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Lenny White--are starting a world tour, making this a special night to ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Stanley Clarke Trio: Jazz in the Garden

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Stanley Clarke Trio Jazz In The Garden Heads Up International 2009

In the mid-1970s when Stanley Clarke rose to prominence playing electric bass in the powerhouse band Return To Forever, it had been his beautiful touch on acoustic bass that originally attracted the notice of the band's founder, keyboard player Chick Corea. The rock star flash and approbation that accompanied his ensuing solo efforts and collaborations with everyone from keyboard player George Duke to guitarists Jeff Beck, Keith Richards and Larry Carlton and drummer Billy Cobham--and even latter day assemblages with guitarist ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Stanley Clarke Trio: Jazz In the Garden

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Is there a more prodigiously talented, but more annoyingly inconsistent artist than Stanley Clarke? A trip through the Clarke catalog reveals some brilliant masterpieces, many that are merely okay and a few that are bona fide turkeys. Doing things with an electric bass that no one else can, it's precisely because he is so good that he has to keep restlessly experimenting to prevent becoming bored.

Rather than being bored on Jazz in the Garden, Clarke is at the top of his game. Reunited with Return to Forever compatriot/drummer Lenny White, Clarke sounds invigorated as he steps away from the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Stanley Clarke Trio: Jazz in the Garden

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How do you make one jazz trio different from so many others? Have the diverse stylings of Stanley Clarke on bass, the experience of Lenny White on drums and the adventurous spirit of Hiromi on piano. The result is the Stanley Clarke Trio. Each member of this ensemble is a leader in his or her own right. Collectively, their collaborations have included such artists as Chick Corea, Taj Mahal, Maynard Ferguson and George Duke. Clarke also is credited with introducing young bass/vocal sensation Esperanza Spalding. Jazz in the Garden is Clarke's first acoustic-trio album as a leader. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Stanley Clarke: The Toys of Men

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Some artists are excellent songwriters. Others are expert composers. Stanley Clarke belongs to the latter group--a creator of music for art's sake rather than one who is limited to popular songs. His skill for composition comes through strongly on The Toys of Men. Clarke, a pioneering electric bassist, has been a force on the music scene for more than three decades. From early 1970s work with Chick Corea and Return to Forever and a brilliant solo career that includes the bass anthem “School Days, to collaborations with George Duke, Clarke is proficient as both a sideman and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Stanley Clarke: The Toys of Men

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Stanley Clarke's influence continues to be felt long past his 1970s glory days as a member of pianist Chick Corea's flagship fusion group Return to Forever and as a solo artist whose School Days (Epic, 1976) remains required listening for any aspiring electric bassist. In the intervening years, despite the occasional high profile gig, he's been more heavily involved in soundtrack work and solo albums that, while pleasant enough pop/jazz, have never quite lived up to the promise of those early years.

Until now. The Toys of Men is a mature work from an artist who's ...



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