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STANLEY CLARKE

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Stanley Clarke biography
STANLEY CLARKE is just short of 40 years service, as a major professional musician, composer and bassist. There are few other bass-players who have had such an influence. CLARKE has worked in jazz rock/funk, straight jazz and equally importantly is a composer of numerous films and TV soundtracks. Born 30th June 1951 in Philadelphia, USA, STANLEY CLARKE is well known for his innovative work on electric basses and double bass, which has led to him gaining many major awards from his peers. In addition, he has invented and been involved in the development of the electric piccolo and tenor basses.

(Interviews have revealed STANLEY CLARKE first played the accordion) but let's leap forward. On leaving the Philadelphia Academy of Music in 1971 and just out of his teens, STANLEY CLARKE headed to New York City, instantly gaining employment with various notable jazz artists: HORACE SILVER, ART BLAKEY, DEXTER GORDON, JOE HENDERSON, PHARAOH SAUNDERS, GIL EVANS, STAN GETZ, and (fresh from MILES DAVIS'S employment), CHICK COREA. CLARKE gave these musicians separately all that could be desired in double bass player. For early STANLEY CLARKE, check out CHICK COREA'S 1972 ECM recording 'Return To Forever' (BTW: a strictly a solo CHICK COREA album with session musicians, but who were quickly to become known as RETURN TO FOREVER) and STAN GETZ'S excellent bossa-nova flavoured 'Captain Marvel' (with a delightful line-up of young fusion lions: CLARKE, COREA, AIRTO and TONY WILLIAMS). STANLEY CLARKE released his first solo album 'Children Of Forever' in 1973.

The original line-up of RETURN TO FOREVER came together in 1972, and reflecting Corea's musical upbringing, i.e. essentially a Latin jazz group, featuring AIRTO, FLORA PURIM (vocals) JOE FARRELL (saxes, flute), COREA (electric piano for the most part) and CLARKE playing double bass (and relatively little electric bass). The only album to come from this official line-up of RTF is 'Light As Feather' (1972). The compilation 'Return to the Seventh Galaxy: The Anthology' CD reveals that there was a degree of flexibility in RTF's line-up at gigs over the 72-74 period, for instance with STEVE GADD and MINGO LEWIS sitting in.

With the appearance and initial successes of LIFETIME, MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, and WEATHER REPORT, it was only a matter of time that RETURN TO FOREVER headed towards the bigger audiences, by evolving into a jazz rock group. CLARKE largely shifted to the electric bass, although with increased...
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Clarke Duke ProjectClarke Duke Project
Sbme Special Mkts. 2008
Audio CD$1.88
$2.37 (used)
Rite of StringsRite of Strings
Capitol 1995
Audio CD$89.70
$25.63 (used)
UpUp
Mack Avenue 2014
Audio CD$9.73
$7.36 (used)
School DaysSchool Days
Sbme Special Mkts. 2008
Audio CD$1.98
$2.18 (used)
Journey to LoveJourney to Love
Sbme Special Mkts. 2008
Audio CD$2.62
$2.61 (used)
Stanley ClarkeStanley Clarke
Sbme Special Mkts. 2008
Audio CD$2.25
$2.48 (used)
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STANLEY CLARKE shows & tickets


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STANLEY CLARKE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

STANLEY CLARKE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.30 | 17 ratings
Children Of Forever
1973
3.82 | 59 ratings
Stanley Clarke
1974
3.35 | 35 ratings
Journey To Love
1975
3.62 | 53 ratings
School Days
1976
2.97 | 11 ratings
Modern Man
1978
2.69 | 11 ratings
I Wanna Play For You
1979
2.83 | 12 ratings
Rocks, Pebbles, and Sand
1980
2.06 | 11 ratings
The Clarke/Duke Project, Vol. 1
1981
1.09 | 7 ratings
Let Me Know You
1982
2.50 | 4 ratings
The Clarke Duke Project 2
1983
1.75 | 4 ratings
Time Exposure
1984
2.67 | 6 ratings
Hideaway
1986
2.24 | 12 ratings
If This Bass Could Only Talk
1988
2.20 | 5 ratings
3 (with George Duke)
1990
2.44 | 6 ratings
East River Drive
1993
3.67 | 18 ratings
The Rite Of Strings (with Al Di Meola & Jean-Luc Ponty)
1995
3.00 | 2 ratings
At The Movies
1995
3.57 | 7 ratings
1,2, To The Bass
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
Standards ( with Leon Ndugu Chancler and Patrice Rushen)
2006
3.07 | 6 ratings
The Toys Of Men
2007
3.21 | 10 ratings
Thunder (with Marcus Miller & Victor Wooten)
2008
4.00 | 5 ratings
Jazz In The Garden ( The Stanley Clarke Trio)
2009
4.00 | 6 ratings
Stanley Clarke Band
2010

STANLEY CLARKE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.24 | 6 ratings
Live At The Greek
1994

STANLEY CLARKE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

STANLEY CLARKE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.95 | 4 ratings
Live 1976-1977
1991
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Bass-Ic Collection
1997
0.00 | 0 ratings
Rocks, Pepples And Sand + Let Me Know You
2010

STANLEY CLARKE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

STANLEY CLARKE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Hideaway by CLARKE, STANLEY album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.67 | 6 ratings

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Hideaway
Stanley Clarke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars An R&B music with a bit of jazzy flavor ...

Well ... the reason I write this album is because I have the cassette version of it with a very good quality as this was produced decades ago...but the audio quality is really good and in fact I prefer to play this casssette at my Tandberg TCD 440A than playing any CD with my NAD player. The sound of this cassette is really natural where I can get a full blast of balanced combination among treble , bass and midrange nicely. I do enjoy this cassette record, really, eventhough I played it "zero gain" or flat at my amplifier where the bass and treble were set to 0 level. It's a great experience, really.

My excitement on the audio quality is not really matched at all with my satisfaction against the music presented by Stanley Clarke with this album. In fact, I listened to it with many regret as I don't believe that a musician with such a brilliant capacity and talent like Stanley Clarke created this very mediocre quality of music - not even good ...sorry to say. Well ... if you look at the perspective of pop or R&B music this album might have served good for you. But even under pop or R&B scene there are still many groups that are more ear candy that pleases you such as Incognito or Jamiroquai ... I think. You might then question me why do I mention these two names? It's because this Hideaway album is not that faraway from those kind of music only that this one less funky, overall.

Well ... I can find the album title track is quite good as it presents Clarke's bass guitar solo as melody as well so that it provides some sort of enjoyment. But the problem is that everything was composed using R&B scene, so there is no challenge at all in listening this album. In fact the track where Angela Bovil fill up the vocal work, it's totally a pop music and I wonder why this kind of music is featured here at this website. It's much better to include Chick Corea where the music is much jazz and much complex to what the R&B music offers. I a not saying R&B is not good but it's not suitable for this prog website - I believe. Chick Corea album like "The Mad Hatter" is much more suitable here ....there are lots of prog components eventhough it's 85% jazz.

So to say ... I can only give this album with only two stars as the facts tell me that. You should try it and you might agree with me ....

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Live At The Greek by CLARKE, STANLEY album cover Live, 1994
4.24 | 6 ratings

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Live At The Greek
Stanley Clarke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by DocB

5 stars Despite being a jazz fusion fan, somehow I missed Live At The Greek way back when, so it was a treat to discover it. All the players here have pedigree: Stanley Clarke from Return To Forever, Larry Carlton from The Crusaders, Billy Cobham from The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Daron Johnson played with Miles Davis in the early '90s, and Najee, well know in smooth jazz circles, shows his fusion chops here. With this kind of talent, we should hope for something good, and fortunately, we've not been disappointed. The album starts unassumingly with a short (3:26) instrumental version of Minute By Minute, a Doobie Brothers song by Michael McDonald and Lester Abrams, which Carlton previously recorded as a studio instrumental. The next five tracks range from 5:20 to 14:02 minutes, and include three originals, plus Miles Davis' All Blues and Charles Mingus' Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, both being given the fusion treatment here. But the tour de force is a 21:33 minute version of Clarke's School Days. Clarke, Cobham and Carlton get the chance to really stretch out on this track, and the results are worth the price of admission. This would have been a great concert to attend.

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 Children Of Forever by CLARKE, STANLEY album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.30 | 17 ratings

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Children Of Forever
Stanley Clarke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Better known as one quarter of Chick Corea's Return To Forever circa their golden early-seventies era, Clarke was one of jazz-rock's foremost bassists, a seriously-talented technician who took the bass guitar to places Chris Squire could only dream of. His work with Return To Forever included all three of that group's classic albums - 'Where Have I Known You Before', 'Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy' and 'Romantic Warrior' - yet his solo work never quite reached the same heights despite a prolific output over the decades. This is where it all began, however, and in a distinctly un-fusion fashion. Issued in 1973, 'Children Of The Future' is an odd beast indeed, a spacey mixture of lounge-jazz, bass-funk and trad elements that will have the listener scratching his head well after the sixth or seventh listen. Fans of fusion may find it all a bit odd - this writer certainly did - yet there are still moments to savor. The opening title-track takes a seriously eclectic journey through Clarke's extrapolating bass movements, complete with funk touches almost too deft to be heard, yet what is most infuriating about 'Childen Of Forever' is the closing epic 'Sea Journey', A beautifully- wrought, wonderfully expressive and harmonic piece, this lengthy track is almost ruined by some of the most off-putting vocal warbling one can imagine, leaving one wishing that Clarke had put his foot down(maybe on a bass pedal?) and made 'Sea Journey' an all-instrumental affair. It isn't, so what you have is a closing piece that is part wonderful, part infuriating. It's a good way to sum this lovingly-crafted debut up - parts are brilliant, others certainly aren't - yet fans of esoteric jazz moods should be in dreamland. An interesting album then from a true exponent of his art, 'Children Of Forever' sure does have it's moments...it's just some of them are genuine moments to forget. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2014

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 Thunder (with Marcus Miller & Victor Wooten) by CLARKE, STANLEY album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.21 | 10 ratings

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Thunder (with Marcus Miller & Victor Wooten)
Stanley Clarke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by RBlak054

3 stars Stanley Clarke. Marcus Miller. Victor Wooten.

If you know anything about jazz fusion, funk, or the electric bass, these men need no introduction. These three bassists - some of the best players alive - are responsible for revolutionizing the electric bass and demonstrating what the instrument is really capable of. So what happens if you stick all three of them into the same band? Let's find out.

After a brief symphonic intro in the opening track "Maestros De Frecuencias Bajas", your ears are greeted by a pounding, funky electric bass line and you know just what you're getting into. I would admittedly not consider most of the music on this album jazz fusion; it falls more into the realm of jazz-funk.

This record has a nice mix of original material as well as old favourites that are given the three-bass treatment. The title track, "Thunder", is probably the highlight of the album with its flashy playing and perfect interplay of basses. While most of the compositions here are strong, with so much emphasis on bass lines there seems to be a lack of strong, quality melodies. In addition, although the band seems to be trying to mix things up occasionally, the album could really benefit from even more diversity.

You wouldn't think that having three bassists in a band would sound natural, but these guys weave together flawlessly. By playing in different registers and taking on distinct roles, each bass part sounds crisp and the sound very rarely gets muddled up - something you might expect to happen when you throw so many low-range instruments into the mix. Each of the bassists takes turns alternating between traditional bass lines, lead playing, and soloing, and all three guys are exceptional at every role.

Don't be fooled into thinking that this album is entirely about bass, though; sure, it's the focus of the majority of the record, but it's not all that's here. There are a slew of guest and session musicians who contribute their expertise to this album as well, including fusion hero Chick Corea (who offers a great piano solo on "Mongoose Walk") and George Duke. Marcus Miller himself adds a plethora of instruments to this release, including bass clarinet, saxophone, and the much-loved minimoog.

If you're like me and love the electric bass, S.M.V.'s Thunder is a release you don't want to miss. If bass and jazz-funk is not something you're all that into, however, this record isn't going to do too much to change your mind despite the lineup and great concept. It has a few shortcomings, no doubt, but overall Thunder is a solid debut release.

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 The Clarke/Duke Project, Vol. 1 by CLARKE, STANLEY album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.06 | 11 ratings

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The Clarke/Duke Project, Vol. 1
Stanley Clarke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars It's quite surprising that this album is featured here at this site as the music is practically nothing being progressive. In fact one of the songs featured in this album "Sweet Baby" was becoming radio hit at that time with many radio stations always put this song on air everyday. One thing that really interest me to have this album was the bass playing style of Stanley Clarke that sounded very dynamic by the standard of the past when this album was released. Look at the opening track Wild Dog which demonstrates bass guitar serves as melody of the song. I then become a fan of this album merely because of Stan's dynamic bass playing. Almost in every track he plays his bass that way.All tracks are basically an R&B style and basically easy listening where any music buffs would easily digest.

For prog heads, nothing is memorable from this album even though this is not a bad R&B album at all. It's for collectors only, I think - those who want to complete their Stanley Calrke collection.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Children Of Forever by CLARKE, STANLEY album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.30 | 17 ratings

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Children Of Forever
Stanley Clarke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The vocals no doubt will be the "make it or break it" for most music fans. Stanley's debut is an instrumental jewel to be sure and for me rivals his self-titled follow-up as my favourite from him. The vocals are provided by a male and a female and lets just say it's hard for me not to smile when either of them are singing. Both are so into their vocals and i'm sure most would roll their eyes at them. I don't mind them but I wouldn't play this in front of anyone either (haha). It's hard not to compare this to Chick Corea's debut album "Return To Forever". The title being the obvious link. Chick does play some amazing electric piano on this record and he also produced it. He adds clavinet and also acoustic piano on one track only. Lenny White is his usual brilliant self on the drum kit. We also get flute and some guitar.

I was glad to see Hugues mention the Zeuhl flavour on the opening track because to my ears it was pretty strong. We also get that Zeuhl flavour on the closing number. It's just so cool to hear Clarke throbbing away while White pounds it out as we get that Zeuhl rhythm with Corea playing electric piano over top. The male vocals are the focus though to start on the title track "Children Of Forever" then it becomes Zeuhl-like around 1 1/2 minutes in. It's pretty intense after 3 minutes. The flute comes and goes throughout. Vocals are back before 6 1/2 minutes. Female backing vocals 8 1/2 minutes in to the end. "Unexpected Days" is mellow with a light beat, keys, flute and bass as the female vocals join in. It picks up after a minute as male vocals join in. These contrasts continue. I like the instrumental section 3 minutes in. Love the electric piano. She's back 4 minutes in. "Bass Folk Song" opens with flute and more then Clarke comes to the fore with a bass solo. Electric piano and flute join in as the drums continue. The bass is chunky. It's intense after 2 minutes and we get some clavinet too. Great sound again 6 1/2 minutes in as it turns intense.

"Butterfly Dreams" opens with acoustic piano as male vocals join in along with bass, drums and flute. Intricate but uptempo guitar comes in when the vocals stop. Vocals are back and he's doing his Sinatra impression. So much going on 5 minutes in. "Sea Journey" is the 16 1/2 minute closer. Flute, drums, keys and bass standout early then the female vocals join in. Love the instrumental section before 3 minutes with the bass, drums and electric piano dominating. Zeuhlish is the word. The intensity lifts around 6 minutes and vocals return. Bowed bass after 8 minutes with electric piano and drums creates an amazing soundscape after the vocals have stopped. Flute before 12 minutes then the intensity breaks 12 1/2 minutes and the vocals return once again. There's that Zeuhl flavour again after 14 minutes. Nice.

For me this is a solid 4 stars but buyer beware as the vocals aren't for everyone.

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 Stanley Clarke by CLARKE, STANLEY album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.82 | 59 ratings

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Stanley Clarke
Stanley Clarke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by 1967/ 1976

4 stars I do not know if Fusion is a branch of Progressive. Fusion is certainly a branch of Jazz. However, it is no longer a Jazz Jazz but a mix of Jazz & Rock music with other genres, marked on a chaotic mix programmed with extreme difficulty executive. Without going into speeches of little interest here, is to frame the right thing, so that certain artists become easy to understand. Let's face it, this is the case of Stanley Clarke, bassist of the best I ever have heard.

"Stanley Clarke" (his second solo album) is a clear example of Rock & Jazz, Classic Fusion in short, dominated by guitar and bass guitar. In it we also find a great deal of melody, something that might be interesting, except that it is Rock part, Hard Rock. Technically, "Stanley Clarke" is a Jazz album, not unlike many others. Yet it has something mystical, innovative Rock field. Not by chance, I like it if I consider it a great Rock album with Jazz compositions.

However, I must say, sincerely, that "Stanley Clarke" is an album that I just heard but that I understood immediately. Say with certainty that the work of Stanley Clarke is astounding technique and heat, the guitar of Bill Connors is very hard rock and very addictive, as is technical and full of heat the drums of Tony Williams. In all this it should be noted that "Stanley Clarke" has aged very well indeed.

In concluding these brief notes, I can not say that "Stanley Clarke" is a masterpiece of Prog. However, it is a masterpiece of fusion and of 70's music.

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 Stanley Clarke by CLARKE, STANLEY album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.82 | 59 ratings

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Stanley Clarke
Stanley Clarke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by 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.

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 Let Me Know You by CLARKE, STANLEY album cover Studio Album, 1982
1.09 | 7 ratings

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Let Me Know You
Stanley Clarke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

1 stars 80s was the bad era of music. Not just Prog, but music in general. While some new genres and artists emerged, others hit the rock bottom here and from there they crawled their way back to /not to the top, but at least higher places.

This album is bad, but still can be listened, but only if you have a soft spot for melodies. I do, but this is way too strong (or rather weak) coffee for me. And I don't drink nor like coffee.

Musically, this is slow disco stuff & pop most of the times. At least, there weren't electronic drummers in this era, it would make it much worse. Worse ? If it even can be applied, given nature of this music, are there even shades of badness and shallowness ?

1(+), anti-Prog album and even these melodies are so sweet and cheap that my head hurts.

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 School Days by CLARKE, STANLEY album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.62 | 53 ratings

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School Days
Stanley Clarke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by CCVP
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Stellar personnel in an above the average album

I'm not much of a solo album man. Artists usually make their solo albums with b-sides, songs that were not good enough to fit in the albums of their main projects, etc, and the very few solo albums that I own prove that, but Stanley Clarke's School Days is surely an exception to that.

Released in the same year as the masterful Romantic Warrior, Clarke's fourth solo album School Days shows a a side of this fantastic bassis that we cannot see in Return To Forever: instead of the elaborate, multilayered and colorful music we got used to listen him play, School Days has a more plain and straightforward perspective, stripped from what some may call as excessive demostration of musicianship. Don't let the wide array of jazz stars deceive into thinking otherwise, this is very different from his other works.

If you keep that in mind, there are not may downsides to point out here. Yes, the music is simpler, there are some more popular musical outfits in many parts, specially in the closing piece Life is Just a Game and just some (and really dated) bad musical choices, also in the closing piece, but that is it. No major flaws, no big issues beyond that.

One thing that I don't really consider a flaw, but could surely be a matter of improvement, is increasing the participation of the guest musicians. There are so many talented and capable people playing here that could get so much more room or that get outshined by the bass, such as Billy Cobham's drums, believe it not, because they are only there to play the parts they are supposed to. You can only but wonder what could have happened if they were given more space.

The albums as a whole is very fun to listen to. There are, as you can obviously imagine, huge bass parts and the bass plays a proeminent role in all of the album, after all it is a solo album by a jazz bassist. The best songs, however, are those that have some more space for the other people to shine, such as the title track, School Days, the second song, Quiet Afternoon, and the fourth song, Desert Song.

Grade and Final Thoughts

Clarke's more straightforward and simpler music in his fourth solo album has hooked me for good, despite some possible improvements that i believe were possible concerning all the musicians that played here. If you like his work at Return to Forever and wish to taste a different side of his music, this would be a good place to start.

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Thanks to dick heath for the artist addition.

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