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Stanley Clarke - Stanley Clarke CD (album) cover

STANLEY CLARKE

Stanley Clarke

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.82 | 53 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars On this eponymous second solo album, Stanley Clarke, as a rhythm man, is fond of the formula of playing a line, and playing very similar one at a lower pitch. As a soloist, he tears up his instruments without mercy, choking nearly every traditional sound out of four strings- pops, slaps, slides, growls, and more. Littered with funkadelic bass grooves, the music remains at once accessible and challenging.

"Vulcan Princess" The backbone of this slippery opener is a spurting, growling bass riff. It blends symphonic progressive rock with frantic jazz funk. This is a rendering of the tune "Vulcan Worlds" from Return to Forever's Where Have I Known You Before, released that same year, which is interesting since Bill Connors plays the guitar on this album, having just left Return to Forever and being replaced by a 19-year-old Al Di Meola, so this is an opportunity to compare styles.

"Yesterday Princess" "Vulcan Princess" drifts right into this calmed piano and vocal piece, offering a more restful experience.

"Lopsy Lu" Clarke dives into a bass solo over a bed of easygoing drums, and other instruments join in soon enough. This shows the man's versatility both as a soloist and in a supportive role. The keyboards are lot of fun here, warbling all over the place, and the electric guitar adds significant bite.

"Power" After a wild drum solo of an introduction, the music settles into a psychedelic pop-and-slap groove, augmented by electric piano and biting guitar. While it remains interesting and energetic throughout, it is little more than a repetitive jam with a few progressive passages and an exciting build to a climax of electric guitar screaming.

"Spanish Phases for Strings & Bass" As the name might suggest, this is a quieter piece, and involves Clarke having at an upright.

"Life Suite" Acoustic guitar and piano play gently yet unsettlingly. The second part launches into a powerful passage of quick, hypnotic jazz with grand brass flourishes, although I can't say I care for the sputtering drumming. The sliding bass riff during the synthesizer solo is mesmerizing also. Part three is elegantly pleasing, almost classical music. The fourth and final part of the suite adopts an almost disco vibe, led by Clarke's spunky bass riff, with a volley of electric guitar shot over it. The eerie bit that opened the suite briefly returns to conclude it.

Epignosis | 4/5 |

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