Stanley Clarke: Stanley Clarke Band: The MessageBy
Open up the sleeve and there's Clarke again, besuited, sitting in a leather armchair, holding his electric bass, cool and calm, surrounded by the dudes of his band, in ripped jeans, creative hairstyles and looking as though they have attitude problems.
The opening track is a requiem for recently departed musical luminaries Al Jarreau, Tom Petty (yes, Tom Petty), Chuck Berry (yes, Chuck Berry), Larry Coryell and Darryl Brown. Clarke seemingly wants you to know he does not approve of categorization when it comes to music, man.
The main ambience of the album is spacey, courtesy, Clarke says, of L. Ron Hubbard, sci-fi writer and founder of Scientology . But there are many digressions. "Lost in a World" and "After The Cosmic Rain/Dance of the Planetary Prince," leavened with girly back-up vocals, are pure pop. More importantly, "The Message" features the leader on acoustic guitar. It's a lovely number and a relief from the spacey hokum.
But "Combat Continuum" sees Clarke switching to Orson Welles-mode as -courtesy of voice actor Steve Blum -he broadcasts news of an alien invasion. Things are looking grim for Planet Earth until Blum reveals that it was all a linguistic misunderstanding; the aliens only wanted to help us heal the planet from the ecological damage we've inflicted on it.
Meanwhile, full marks, Commander Clarke, for a masterly Bach prelude, expertly bowed. But surely we could have been spared "To Be Alive"the seemingly inevitable rap number. The message (perhaps from an older, wiser civilisation in a galaxy far, far away) is that even a great musician comes unstuck trying to be all things to all men... and women.
And Ya Know We’re Missing You; After The Cosmic Rain/Dance Of The Planetary Prince; The Rugged Truth; Combat Continuum; The Message; Lost In A World; Alternative Facts; Bach Cello Suite 1 (Prelude); The Legend Of The Abbas And The Sacred Talisman; Enzo’s Theme; To Be Alive.
Stanley Clarke: guitar, bass; Beka Gochiashvili: piano; Cameron Graves, Pat Leonard, Dominique Taplin: synthesizers; Mike Mitchell: drums; Salar Nadar: tabla; Doug Webb: saxophone, flute; Chuck Findley, Ron Stout: trumpet, French horn; Dwayne Benjamin: trombone; Michael Thompson: guitar; Steve Blum, Skyeler Kole, Trevor Wesley, Sofia Sara Clarke, Chris Clarke, Doug E Fresh: vocals.
Title: Stanley Clarke Band: The Message | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Mack Avenue Records
Post a comment about this album
FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZAll About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
WE NEED YOUR HELPTo expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.
About Stanley Clarke
Instrument: BassArticle Coverage | Calendar | Albums | Photos | Similar Artists