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Stanley Clarke - The Toys Of Men CD (album) cover

THE TOYS OF MEN

Stanley Clarke

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
3 stars This is something of a comeback album for Stanley Clarke, as he seemed to disappear from the recording world for almost a decade. This album has it's moments. Clarke's bass playing, both acoustic and electric, is as astounding as ever. But this album seems a bit bottom heavy with solo acoustic bass. Not that I don't appreciate a great acoustic bass solo, but the sheer volume of them here gets somewhat tedious to listen to.

Around the acoustic solos are some nice songs. The opening track, "The Toys Of Men" is an epic sized electric fusion suite. It's extremely well played by Clarke and his band of relative unknown sidemen. There are a couple of funky bass jams, a staple for any great fusion bassist. The second of these, "Bad Asses", just drums and bass, has some impossibly fast slapping that makes my jaw drop every time I listen.

Another good song is "Chateauvallon 1972", which to me is a bit reminiscent of vintage Mahavishnu Orchestra.

It's an uneven album, but well worth owning.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#225810)
Posted Friday, July 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
snobb
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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After many years of danceable funk, pop-soundtracks, etc. one of the greatest jazz fusion bassist Stanley Clarke returned back to the music he became a star with. To his jazzy roots. But the year is 2007, so don't you expect to hear the clone music from early RTF time.

Clarke's bass is excellent as usual, but there are great music around it as well. Mostly contemporary jazz and jazz fusion. Even some jazzy vocals ( to be honest I prefer Esperanza Spalding playing bass, not singing, but her voice is very competent there). Very atmospheric, with playing electric and acoustic bass both, this album has it magnetism, and the reason is its vintage sound combined with some more modern techniques.

Rare balance between lighter jazzy numbers and sharper real jazz fusion (in the vein of early 70-s). Sometimes it looks that total track list is a bit on a safe side, with calculated proportion between harder and softer, between funky corners and jazzy roundness. But - the year is 2007, as I told above yet. So, it couldn't be a record from 1972. And for year of release, this album is really very strong one. And if you don't afraid of some contemporary jazz songs, you will be pleasantly surprised by this album (on the next one Clarke will make a deeper step into excellent contemporary jazz, with his trio, including Hiromi Uehara).

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#281449)
Posted Tuesday, May 11, 2010 | Review Permalink

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