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Stanley Clarke - Rocks, Pebbles And Sand CD (album) cover


Stanley Clarke

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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3 stars Stanley Clarke is one of the major bass players in jazz rock and jazz fusion world in last almost 40 years. Almost everywhere he played over the years , on his solo albums, in some projects, he has so many, he always bring the listner something intristing and above all not boring, at least for me. So far I've reviewed one of his famous albums School daysand I was not very impressed, ok was a good album for sure, but nothing that make me listen over and over like for ex Return to Forever - Romantic warrior (whre he does a fabulos job). Now I will review his seventh studio album from 1980 named Rock, pebbles and sand released at Epic records. If the music is ok to my ears, here is the same jazz rock like on previous works but with some changes of course, is the turn of a new decade, the '80's and the progressive rock and jazz rock musicians and bands didn't have suny days on the market. Each musician tries to come with something new, sometimes they succeded sometimes they don't. In this case Stanley Clarke incorporates in his jazz rock-fusion arrangemnts some soul elements, some funky chops and even on couple of tracks we can hear some hard rock arrangements like on opening track called Danger Street, is ok but a little strange knowing Clark as a fusio player, anyway this piese sounds like Whitesnake with out same complex bass arrangements, ok tune after all. For some listners this is a deseppointing album, but to me has the same level with School days, even the voice of Stanly is not something great, but not really bad either, some of the critics already jump at him when he was release the album because he pulls the album ina total diffrent direction then his usual style. Anyway I like the album I will give easy 3 stars, not a bad one as many complained. A good jazz rock album with some more rougher edge in places but also combined with his traditional elemenst from previous albums, jazz rock, some soul moments with female -male vocal duets and some funky jazz arrangemenst that worth to be heard from time to time. Pleasent album and great cover art aswell.
Report this review (#273398)
Posted Monday, March 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I dare say that Stanley Clarke's solo work is always going live in the shadow created by his former band, the highly regarded fusion giants Return To Forever. That's not surprising really as although I only have a handful of his solo albums in my collection, the ones I have heard rarely, if ever scale the heights of excellence that RTF achieved. That's not to say he hasn't produced anything worthwhile and Rocks, Pebbles and Sand does have some fine moments.

Naturally he's assembled an excellent cast of high calibre players including the superb drummer Simon Phillips. Musically the material incorporates elements of jazz, funk, rock and soul and of course Clarke's trademark bass sound, often hitting more than one note at a time and part slap and pull funk, is all over the place. Overall, side one (of the original vinyl version) is the better, side two being marred by the drippy soul ballad You/Me Together and the novelty funk of We Supply. A bit better is the three part The Story Of A Man And A Woman which moves disappointingly from a high octane fusion start, She Thought I Was Stanley Clarke into the soul-lite A Fool Again. Fortunately for the third part, I Nearly Went Crazy (Until I Realized What Had Occurred), things improve as it moves back into jazz rock territory.

Getting back to the more consistent side one, Danger Street is heavy rock and All Hell Broke Loose incorporates a more funky and fusion vibe. The title track is a showcase for Clarke's bass work as he weaves around a simple soulful keyboard line aided by some soaring lead guitar. Underestimation is a good side closer and is an upbeat blend soul and funk with rock overtones.

Not Clarke's greatest solo outing then but the consistent side one lifts things enough to warrant a 3 star rating.

Report this review (#275833)
Posted Thursday, April 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars This is a completely schizo album. Side 1 of the LP showcases Stanley Clarke's rock side. The songs are similar to some of Jeff Beck's rock songs (but with fantastic bass solos).

Side 2 is more like what we are used to with Stanley Clarke's fusion albums. The first song You/Me Together is the sappy soul vocal piece. We Supply is a more funky vocal piece. And then there's the three part The Story Of A Man And A Woman. It starts out very promising, with high speed quotes from some of his earlier albums, in a section titled She Thought I Was Stanley Clarke. The second section is much more low key, another vocal piece. And part three, I Nearly Went Crazy (Until I Realized What Had Occurred) brings back the quotes. Unfortunately, parts 1 and 3 are way too short, and part 2 is way too long.

4 Stars for side 1, 2.5 stars for side 2. Average = 3.25 stars.

Report this review (#297616)
Posted Monday, September 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Stanley Clarke made his name playing with RTF,between others. Some his solo albums from 70-s are really great, and he is with no doubt one of the best bass player around for some decades.

Unhappily, this album was released in 1980, and the music there is product of that's time. Side A are often almost heavy rock (!), what is very unusual for Clarke, but it is hard rock of early 80-s - simplistic,melodic and very commercial. Side B is more soul-disco-funk, but again - doesn't matter what the genre is, all sound is pure 80-s.

Album in all is very eclectic and sounds more as collection of unrelated compositions ,played in different styles, but always with touch of the time. Possibly, the idea was just to try to record something for every possible listener (vinyl buyer), and in some sense it works - there is wide musical range on this album. The problem is almost all compositions are recorded for pop- market, so even if there are plenty of nice moments, all release sounds as not very successful sell-out.

From positive side, I can notice high level of musicianship of Clarke himself and some collaborators (especially drummer Simon Phillips, Chick Corea played some tunes there as well). In that sense this album is much higher over standard of just pop music. Another attractive moment - album often is openly pop-oriented, but compositions all are different, so music isn't boring.

Hardly an attractive album for progressive fusion lovers, but still have some nice moments.

My rating is 2,5,rounded to 3.

Report this review (#317948)
Posted Saturday, November 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars Surprisingly enough after the no-specific line-up of Play For You, this album has Stan sharing the spotlight with three white boys who appear to be rockers, and indeed Rock, Pebbles & Sand is Stan's hardest album (to my knowledge anyway), but it doesn't stop it from sounding very AOR, post the few opening tracks. Nevermind the hope-inducing rock motorcycle artwork, this album stinks.

Despite the rather hard-rocking start of Danger Street and the Motor-driven intro All Hell Broke Loose, a fast-driving instrumental that rocks and overruns the engine and transmission and leads into the soft-starting synth-layered title track, another instrumental, where Stan's bass rules. Things go awry when the overestimated Underestimation enters and we get Stan's now acceptable vocals, but the songwriting is uninspired or simply it sounds like [&*!#]. Things go really wrong with the awful dreck track of You/Me Together, a soppy, sugared horrible love song sounding like a pre-Whitney track recorded in Houston. It gets even worse with the atrocious electro-funky We Supply (yup, they do?. loads of crap), but the following three-part 11-mins+ Story Of A Man And Woman is simply laughable, despite a semblance of prog stance, it is ruined by a disco beat and over-soulish vocals and backing vocals. This is still a remnant of the Modern Man-type of songwriting, but it loses its credibility, despite some good instrumentation passages. Shitty late 70's synth sounds just kill this semi-ambitious and proggy piece. This track is cheese enough to prepare a fondue for a whole barmy, but it's clearly the best on the flipside and the finale is rather correct.

It's rather hard to believe that this album was once released as a Contemporary Masters Columbia Jazz series (with the red frame around the artwork), because not only does it suck big bones (well the second half aqnyway), but it's absolutely nothing to do with Jazz. Just a piece of early 80's funk-disco crap, and probably one album that Stan The Man would rather forget he ever made. Best avoided, despite a correct start, but much worse is to come.

Report this review (#321675)
Posted Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Clarke is trying a new formula on his first 80's album, adding hard rock elements. You need guitar, bass, drums and suitable vocals. Clarke manages to succeed in three out of four aspects. Songs on the first side have a rocking sound but they are far from full-fledged hard rock convincing spirit. They are grooving and sometimes contain awkward funky beat to it.

The title track is the first highlight with great bass soloing and amiable motive. "Underestimation" has a terrible vocal, quite bad drums but good guitar and progressive rock synths.

Then we turn to the funky side with a more suitable vocal. "We Supply" lets you know that Clarke is now in a much more familiar territory. Bass playing is the best element of it. The long 11-minute suite is the last legendary epic and features the first and third magnificient and intensive fusion sections. In particular, the third section is a dramatic finale full of dynamic moments including terrific drumming. If you hear the second and third section and think that it reminds you of another Clarke work, then pay attention to "Life is just a Game" on "School Days".

Last mixed quality album before Clarke fully immersed in the commercial phase of his career until 1988.

Report this review (#2497258)
Posted Tuesday, January 26, 2021 | Review Permalink

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