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Stanley Clarke

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Stanley Clarke Stanley Clarke, Al Di Meola & Jean-Luc Ponty: The Rite of Strings album cover
3.98 | 32 ratings | 4 reviews | 28% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1995

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Indigo (7:12)
2. Renaissance (4:36)
3. Song to John (6:04) *
4. Chilean Pipe Song (6:15)
5. Topanga (5:56)
6. Morocco (5:45)
7. Change of Life (5:29)
8. La Cancion de Sofia (8:33)
9. Memory Canyon (6:00)

Total Time 55:50

* dedicated to John Coltrane

Line-up / Musicians

- Al Di Meola / acoustic guitars
- Jean-Luc Ponty / acoustic violin
- Stanley Clarke / acoustic bass

Releases information

Artwork: Luis Siquot

CD Gai Saber ‎- 7243 8 34167 2 1 (1995, US)

Thanks to Evolver for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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STANLEY CLARKE Stanley Clarke, Al Di Meola & Jean-Luc Ponty: The Rite of Strings ratings distribution

(32 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(28%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

STANLEY CLARKE Stanley Clarke, Al Di Meola & Jean-Luc Ponty: The Rite of Strings reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Beautiful. Elegant. Tasteful.

Those who know me, or know my reviewing style may find it a surprise that I give such a low key recording such a high review, but this album deserves it.

Sometimes you just need something light to listen to, like when relaxing on the porch with an ice cold drink, or entertaining guests at an evening yard party. This is a perfect selection for such occasions. All three of these masters are in top form, all blending well, whether soloing or backing up the other two performers. At no time does anyone hog the spotlight.

Some of these songs have been recorded before, in a different style, like Ponty's "Renaissance" (misspelled "Renassaince" on the CD cover), originally from his excellent album Aurora, but all work well in this grouping.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars I do like this album but to be honest if i'd known it was an acoustic record I would have passed. I'm just not a fan of unplugged albums, i'd rather have Geddy screaming in one ear and Peart pounding his drums in the other if you know what I mean. We do have 3 Fusion legends though in DiMeola, Clarke and Ponty but how much better would this have been if it was electric and Cobham was on the kit ? Oh well, like I said I do like it, but an hour of acoustic music just makes me start to twitch and blink a lot. Not a good sign.

"Indigo" is a good opener with the bass and guitar opening things as the violin joins in before a minute.They all play so tastefully here. Nice bass 4 1/2 minutes in. "Renassaince" sounds really good before a minute with the deep bass, intricate guitar and violin coming and going. "Song To John" is the only track that was partly composed by someone outside this group, namely Chick Corea (with Clarke's help). And the John in the title is John Coltrane. It doesn't really kick in in until around 1 1/2 minutes.The tempo eventually picks up.

"Chilean Pipe Song" kicks in before a minute. Nice bass again before 2 1/2 minutes. "Topanga" has this pastoral, laid back sound. The violin is prominant after 4 1/2 minutes to end it. "Morocco" opens with guitar and bass. It kicks in with violin before a minute. Some clapping too. I like the tasteful violin playing over the bass and guitar in "Change Of Life". "La Cancion De Sofia" is another mellow tune until it changes 3 1/2 minutes in. Some impressive guitar here. "Memory Canyon" is one of the best songs. Check out the guitar / bass 3 1/2 minutes in. More great guitar 5 1/2 minutes in.

This was released in 1995 so most of my favourite performances from these three guys happened 20 years earlier. This is certainly more mature, it just does little for me.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars First of all,it's an acoustic album. Second-it's a perfect acoustic album! Three of fusion great musicians just made it: tasteful, intelligent work without screaming and thunder, but full of sound nuances and perfect technique.

There are no drummer, so don't expect too much energy or drive. But for sure it isn't sleepy recording. In many senses,it's similar to three of well-known albums of Sl Di Meola-Paco De Lucia-McLaughlin. There as well were three acoustic albums of strings. But whenever in "The Rite Of Strings" beside of Al Di Meola guitar exists violin and some rhythm section ( ok, just Clarke's bass), the music is more structurised and has a bit diversified.

I like DiMeola-DeLucia-McLaughlin acoustic albums, but to be honest, after some songs all compositions sound similar. The reason is quite specific sound of just three acoustic guitars at once. There, in Clarke-DiMeola-Ponty album situation is better: combination of all acoustic guitar,bass and violin let the musicians play more different music.

In it atmosphere, album is soft, a bit nostalgic ( in DiMeola latin jazz tradition), with some warmless coming from Ponty's violin. There are some classic and some original compositions on that album."Indigo" from the very beginning gives you the understanding about the music's waiting for you on that album. "Topanga" brings to warm space of latin-jazz scented with rich acoustic violin's solos. "Morocco " represents perfect violin and guitar interplay.

All in all, I am sure, if you like DiMeola-DeLucia-McLaughlin acoustic trilogy, it's an album for you. As well, it could be interesting for all DiMeola acoustic guitar fans,and for all lovers of good acoustic fusion. Realy very strong example of it!

Review by BrufordFreak
5 stars One of the most beautiful jazz fusion collaborations I've ever heard. What makes this 1995 studio album so special is that it is an all-acoustic trio. Without drums. So unusual in the jazz idiom. To me on a par with Miles' Kind of Blue and the three record albums from Bill Evans, Scott La Faro and Paul Motian's Village Vangard sessions. Still better is 1994's Live at Montreux DVD from the trio plus keyboard artist, Monte Alexander, which prompted the trio to record a studio album together before going off on their own paths. Stanley Clarke is jaw-dropping amazing.

1. "Indigo" (7:15) one of Al's compositions, from his 1993 release World Symphonia - Heart of the Immigrants. Great stuff! Should/could be a top three song? but there are others! (14.5/15)

2. "Renaissance" (4:32) a classic Jean-Luc Ponty song previously introduced to the world on 1976's Aurora album-- before Jean-Luc had become a household name. Hear performed so beautifully with Al and Jean-Luc really shining as Stanley keeps immaculate time. A top three song for me--mostly for the beautiful melody and rhythm structure. (10/10)

3. "Song to John" (6:00) originally composed by Stanley with Chick Corea back in 1975 for Stanley's Journey to Love album. It was originally composed for John McLaughlin and his "new" scalloped guitar that he was using for his Shakti albums and performances. Al's Django Reinhardt treatment of the supporting strumming is incredible--as is his MIDIed lead. Then Stanley gets his say in an incredible solo in the second half. These guys aren't old: they're in their prime! The original is incredible--with lots of space for feeling the power, but this new, amped up version is just as great in its own way. (9.5/10)

4. "Chilean Pipe Song" (6:12) another Al song (he was really, really into Latin American music in the 1980s), Jean-Luc, and especially Stanley add so much. (9/10)

5. "Topanga" (5:50) a Stanley composition--perhaps written or offered just for these sessions as I can find no previous record of it ever being recorded. Man does Stanley's bowed bass dig deep into the heart strings! Great support and contributions to The Man from Al and Jean-Luc. A top three for me. (10/10)

6. "Morocco" (5:45) Al's third and final contribution to the trio--from his 1991 studio release, Kiss My Axe. Gorgeous textures and soli with not enough of a core to distinguish it much from any other jazz jam. But, damn, the performances are fine! (8.75/10)

7. "Change of Life" (5:30) the second Jean-Luc contribution, another song that I can find no previous record of so could very well have been offered to the trio for this and only this recording. A nice pastoral romp through the country side--on a horse-drawn, open air carriage. Such a smooth, relaxing song--with such amazingly dextrous, finesse-filled performances. Such a privilege! For sure a top three song! (9.75/10)

8. "La Cancion de Sofia" (8:30) the third Stanley contribution, this one from Slow and almost plodding, the spaciousness gives lots of room for flourishes and incidentals. Then, at near the halfway poiont, we have a stop and reset: a fast-paced race with the Devil ensues. Again, we're in the territory of such hallowed giants as Stéphane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt. An odd song but, again, we are so privileged to be in the company of these virtuosi! (17.5/20)

9. "Memory Canyon" (6:00) Jean-Luc Ponty's final contribution to the trio, another song whose lack of history leads me to beleive that it was a song Jean-Luc gifted to his pals specifically for this recording. (8.5/10)

A/five stars; a certifiable, undisputable masterpiece of virtuosic Jazz-Rock Fusion and definitely an album that belongs in every prog lover's music collection! Easily my Album of the Year for 1995.

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