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STANLEY CLARKE

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Stanley Clarke biography
Stanley Marvin Clarke - Born on 30.06.1951 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)

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 t...
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STANLEY CLARKE discography


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

3.29 | 33 ratings
Children Of Forever
1973
3.88 | 81 ratings
Stanley Clarke
1974
3.48 | 49 ratings
Journey To Love
1975
3.72 | 75 ratings
School Days
1976
2.97 | 18 ratings
Modern Man
1978
2.77 | 20 ratings
I Wanna Play For You
1979
2.83 | 19 ratings
Rocks, Pebbles And Sand
1980
2.11 | 15 ratings
The Clarke / Duke Project
1981
1.15 | 10 ratings
Let Me Know You
1982
2.27 | 11 ratings
The Clarke / Duke Project II
1983
2.00 | 9 ratings
Time Exposure
1984
2.69 | 13 ratings
Hideaway
1986
2.33 | 20 ratings
If This Bass Could Only Talk
1988
2.00 | 9 ratings
The Clarke / Duke Project: 3
1990
2.53 | 11 ratings
East River Drive
1993
3.73 | 27 ratings
Stanley Clarke, Al Di Meola & Jean-Luc Ponty: The Rite Of Strings
1995
2.80 | 5 ratings
At The Movies
1995
3.16 | 10 ratings
1,2, To The Bass
2003
4.00 | 1 ratings
Stanley Clarke, Ndugu Chancler & Patrice Rushen: Standards
2006
3.07 | 8 ratings
The Toys Of Men
2007
3.25 | 12 ratings
S. M. V. (Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller & Victor Wooten): Thunder
2008
3.65 | 9 ratings
The Stanley Clarke Trio: Jazz In The Garden
2009
3.80 | 10 ratings
The Stanley Clarke Band
2010
3.67 | 3 ratings
The Stanley Clarke Band: Up
2014

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

4.16 | 9 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)

3.96 | 5 ratings
Live 1976-1977
1991
3.50 | 2 ratings
The Bass-Ic Collection
1997
1.00 | 1 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
 The Stanley Clarke Trio: Jazz In The Garden by CLARKE, STANLEY album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.65 | 9 ratings

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The Stanley Clarke Trio: Jazz In The Garden
Stanley Clarke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars Returning to the modern contemporary but no way a straight conventional jazz and reverting to acoustic bass, having a trio including Hiromi lets no musician sleep on their laurels. Hiromi and Clarke are eager to experiment with textures and forms without sounding aggressively while White supports the flow seamlessly. You won't notice the typical 5/4 jazz pattern in many songs (One exception being "3 wrong notes", "Brain training" and "Solar"), all songs have a custom modern signature. The music is not really linked to jazz fusion, it's more laid-back but equally thought-provoking and exploratory - if you listen to "Take the Coltrane" - you'll see what irregularity I mean - the bass and drums are full of changes. "Isotope" has virtuoso jamming mainly by Hiromi, stunning chords and intensity of playing. "Solar" is the most upbeat song here and it reveals a lot of energy with soloing by each member. There is a surprinsingly good cover of the Red Hot Chili Peppers "Under the bridge" with piano being the best instrument, excellent playing and jazz chord sequence again. A really nice collaboration!
 1,2, To The Bass by CLARKE, STANLEY album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.16 | 10 ratings

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1,2, To The Bass
Stanley Clarke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars This record is a sort of contemporary comeback by Clarke after a couple of straight jazz records with acoustic bass. It's an eclectic set of songs ranging from R&B, contemporary jazz, smooth jazz to jazz funk. There are some clever and warm instrumentals like "Simply said" or "Anna" or "All the children" which show mature bass technique without overshadowing the main motive. R&B is represented by "Where is the love" which features vocal style a la Stevie Wonder. "Just Cruzin" is a great 70's feeling not unsimilar to George Benson mid-70's instrumental output. "'Bout bass" has a great rhythm led by multiple layers of solo bass and accompanying bass. The last two cuts could be easily a part of soundtrack. The weak spoken "I shall not be moved" is compensated by the ethereal "Shanti Peace Paz" sharing the Indian violin and jazzy bass.

A confident album by the bass legend.

 Rocks, Pebbles And Sand by CLARKE, STANLEY album cover Studio Album, 1980
2.83 | 19 ratings

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Rocks, Pebbles And Sand
Stanley Clarke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

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.

 I Wanna Play For You by CLARKE, STANLEY album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.77 | 20 ratings

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I Wanna Play For You
Stanley Clarke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars More a jazz-funk than fusion but still of a good quality unlike those from the 80's. There is good composing, focus on feeling and arrangements rather than fast soloing. "I wanna play for you" has a commercial vibe with vocal and lazy rhythm but compensates throwaway tendencies are saved by instrumental effort of keyboards and bass. "Together again" is another highlight, after 3 average sung tracks. Simple rhythm but good contemporary bass playing. "Blues for Mingus" is an acoustic bass conventional remembering of Charles Mingus. There are several live tracks on this double album, too. Let me highlight the rocking "Rock'n'roll Jelly" with Ray Gomez on the guitar and "Jamaican boy" with Jeff Beck with his typical muscular fusion mid-70's guitar. Even if you dislike Clarke's funky tendencies, you may be pleased with the high quality playing on the live tracks and hearing a few less conventional numbers.
 Live 1976-1977 by CLARKE, STANLEY album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1991
3.96 | 5 ratings

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Live 1976-1977
Stanley Clarke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars Live album at the top of his fusion fame and with important fusion comrades assisting. You can also name it the early Best of compilation. Bass playing is, of course, more virtuoso and intensive than on the studio record. "School days" was driving the listeners crazy with Clarke's mesmerizing technique. "Lopsy lu" is otherwise an average studio track but here it puts the guitarist, drummer and Clarke to the high league. "Silly putty" represents the high quality funk side of Clarke, plenty of space for slapping, again. Brass section is audibly more present than on the studio record. "The magician" goes back to the RTF times and sounds more majestic with the brass section. "Vulcan princess" is a solid fusion good-bye to the listeners.
 School Days by CLARKE, STANLEY album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.72 | 75 ratings

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School Days
Stanley Clarke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars Excellent line-up with fusion all-stars but how does the music fare? "School days" is the last of Clarke's classic fusion albums of the 70's and ranks among his best. The albums starts with the most iconic Clarke's number, the ode to fusion bass, it remains the centerpiece for almost 8 minutes and the accompanying instruments change. "Quiet afternoon" is a simplified and very accessible, cosy piece of jazzy instrumental, I think there are bass synth effects. A subdued acoustic number "Desert song" is a bit too laid for my taste but shows the acoustic side of McLaughlin and Clarke. it continues with "Hot Sun" which is a loud exploration of funk fusion . The bass is leading the pack but brass section is ready to follow. "Life is just a game" is one of the most pompous Clarke's numbers feeling almost like a prog introduction. However, a vocal, which I attribute to his companion Duke brings us into a more conventional territory. At least, it's a well composed section. Then we get to a bass-busy funky exploration, drums and Duke keyboards joining. I love the frenetic rhythm speed and the intensive motive with fast bass slapping. Excellent composition and plenty of things to explore!

I highly recommend this album to all fusion fans.

 Journey To Love by CLARKE, STANLEY album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.48 | 49 ratings

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Journey To Love
Stanley Clarke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars One this album, Clarke took the first small step from fusion toward funk being more accessible to other music fan groups. He does it with taste as well his "Who's who" collection of guests like George Duke, who was undergoing transformation into funk already. "Silly putty" has the funky bass and keyboard interplay reach a fantastic level. Brass section is a good enhancement but nothing spectacular. Having heard "Journey to love", you can easily misplace it to be coming from the Duke factory due to his voice and irreplaceable keyboard style. This is a warm number with clear melody with taste rather than virtuosity. "Hello Jeff" compensates it by bringing incredible guitar/bass groove and Jeff Beck shining on the melodic lead guitar. Let's not forget the following Lenny White. "Song to John" is fully acoustic and I like the second part due to the RTF feeling, who else than Mr. Corea behind the keys and Clarke resorting to acoustic bass. The epic last piece feels very loose exploring playing abilities for bass, guitar, drums and keyboards. Excellent piece of music. The Part II is the centerpiece of the ideas and fusion dynamics while the next part explores hard rock with Hammond organ. Not a 5 star album for proggers but need to be explored together with the "School days".
 Stanley Clarke by CLARKE, STANLEY album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.88 | 81 ratings

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Stanley Clarke
Stanley Clarke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars On "Children of Forever", Clarke has yet to mature to define his trademark sound and bring compositions of higher quality. It's more funky, grooving and much less keyboard oriented than on the Return to Forever albums. The rhythm section is often in the foreground while guitar and keyboards follow which does not mean that we don't have enough moments with fiery guitar and keyboard in the spotlight like at the end of the first track. "Lopsy Lu" is a typical slap bass-driven number with more than average complex drum fill-ins while "Power" has a killing bass "riff" with pulsating typical Hammer solo, later comes Bill Connors with his arsenal. The acoustic "Spanish Phases..." is an acquired taste, it\s too limited by having bass taking the entire front stage. The "Life Suite" is one of the several Clarke's 70's suites which were always the highlights of his albums. The Pt.2 is a stunning fusion dynamite with all 5 musicians pulsalting like a 5-valve engine. I like the acoustic counterpart of the Pt.1 and Pt.3. The last Pt.4 evolves around simple bass power-riff with guitar and keyboards filling the soloing space.
 Stanley Clarke by CLARKE, STANLEY album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.88 | 81 ratings

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Stanley Clarke
Stanley Clarke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is the first time I ever owned a solo album by Stanley Clarke and I choose a great one too! Some people refer this as his debut, forgetting about Children of Forever on Polydor (obvious reference to Return to Forever in the title) where he was billed as Stan Clarke. I guess I shied away from his solo work fearing inappropriate soulful ballads in between mindblowing fusion instrumentals. Not here. Here he gets former RTF guitarist Bill Connors, former Miles Davis and Lifetime drummer Tony Williams, and former Mahavishnu Orchestra keyboardist Jan Hammer, plus the occasional horns and strings. Not too surprising, the music has that RTF and Mahavishnu feel throughout. While it's clear that Stanley's bass takes center stage, none of the other three guys were any slouches. "Vulcan Princess" (I imagine that title a Star Trek reference) has that funky bass playing and I can't help but be reminded of Lenny White's funkier moments of Venusian Summer which was released a year later on the same label. "Yesterday Princess" is the only vocal cut, and luckily Stanley avoids those soul cliches which is a big plus. "Lopsy Lu" and "Power" tends more towards jamming in that Mahavishnu and RTF vein. "Spanish Phases for Strings & Bass" is basically a showpiece for Stanley's stand-up bass playing, with strings occasionally popping up. "Life Suite" is a killer closing piece with some wonderful inventive drumming from Tony Williams and great Moog soloing from Jan Hammer. Great stuff that's well worth hearing.
 School Days by CLARKE, STANLEY album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.72 | 75 ratings

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School Days
Stanley Clarke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Kingsnake

5 stars Excellent jazz rock fusion album with a prominent role for the electric bass but also a role for the acoustic upright bass.

This album is different than other prominent bass jazz rock artists like Eberhard Weber and Pekka Pohjola. It is less folk and jazz influenced and has more funk and rock influences where Stanley actually plays chords on his bassguitar.

It has some Return to Forever-influences but it is clear that Stanley Clarke has a sound of his own. To augment the sound and colour of the songs, Stanley carefully picked the right musicians for each song, so the list of guests is long list. But the songs have a natural flow and fit together perfectly.

Also the addition of strings and brass makes it more than just a solo-bass album.

Highly recommended!

Thanks to dick heath for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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