Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"On The Stanley Clarke Band, he has assembled a brilliant core group as well as legendary studio musicians to proffer a scintillating array of songs. At the heart of these compositions is the dexterity and mastery of his instrument. Like Charlie Mingus, Clarke has managed to execute the bass as a lead.
On "Soldier" he establishes an atmospheric background to accentuate a crisp bass lead. The soft piano texture of Hiromi inhabits the piece with a perfect balance. Hiromi's stylish play is also featured throughout the global warming fusion piece "How Is The Weather Up There", which features a classical piano solo. A latin rhythm piece, "Sonny Rollins", Clarke's tribute to the legendary jazzman, demonstrates a deft arrangement with a funky bass opening, a swing time saxophone lead with horn backgrounds, and a subtle use of the synthesizer. The depth of the piece is illuminated by intricate piano and electric piano solos by Hiromi and Ruslan.
There is a sonic connection to the jazz fusion of the 70 with the African influenced melody of "Fulani", made notable by vocal percussion chants, extended synthesizer play, and powerful bass lines. The funk homage continues with a compact arrangement in "I Wanna Play for You Too", accentuated by a synthesized bass groove, tight horn section and background vocals. Fans of Return to Forever will revel in the precision and shifts of Corea's "No Mystery."
For sheer artistry, there are two solo Clarke pieces, "Bass Folk Song No. 10", and "Bass Folk Song No.6 (Mo Anam Cara)", that utilize a structured composition that allows for trademark fluidity, with an improvisational feel. Trivia enthusiasts will be interested to know that one of the bass instruments used in this recording once belonged to Charlie Mingus, and was lent to Clarke by fellow Philadelphian and jazz fan Bill Cosby." -Audiophile Audition
Here's Why Tears Dry
I Wanna Play for You Too
Bass Folk Song No. 10
How Is The Weather Up There?
Larry Has Traveled 11 Miles and Waited a Lifetime for the Return of Vishnu's Report
Bass Folk Song No. 6 (Mo Anam Cara)
JazzTimes (p.56) - "With top-flight support throughout...this is still mostly about Clarke. Popping, slapping, soloing....Another tour-de-four-string..."
Personnel: Stanley Clarke (electric bass); Cheryl Bentyne (vocals); Charles Altura, Rob Bacon (electric guitar); Bob Sheppard (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Hiromi (piano); Ruslan (electric piano, synthesizer); Lorenzo Dunn (bass synthesizer); Armand Sabal-Lecco (electric bass); Ronald Bruner Jr. (drums); Chris Clarke, Jonathan Hakakian (drum programming).
Liner Note Authors: Ruslan; Armand Sabal-Lecco.
Recording information: Resonate, Burbank, CA; Topanga Studio, Topanga, CA.
Photographer: Steve Parke.
The 2010 self-titled release by the Stanley Clarke Band is aptly titled; it actually feels more like a band record than anything he's done in decades. This isn't saying that Clarke's solo work is somehow less than, but when he surrounds himself with musicians that are all prodigies in their own right, the end results tend to be more satisfying. Produced by Clarke and Lenny White, his band is made up Compton double-kick drum maestro Ronald Bruner, Jr., Israeli pianist/keyboardist Ruslan Sirota, and pianist Hiromi Uehara (aka Hiromi) who plays on a number of tracks but is considered a member. There are guests, too, including a horn section, a couple of guitarists in Rob Bacon and Charles Altura, and saxophonist Bob Sheppard. Clarke plays his usual arsenal of basses. Sirota and Hiromi contribute compositions to the album. They include the former's set opener "Soldier." While its intro is quiet and melodic enough, it evolves, first into a modal study with Clarke playing the melody before it kicks into jazz-rock overdrive with Altura playing a distorted rhythm guitar to Clarke's Alembic tenor bass. Dynamics shift and turn; they make the track a multi-faceted investigation with Sirota's piano solo sourcing both McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock. Hiromi's "Labyrinth" is a seamless construction that melds elements of "My Favorite Things" to modern post-bop and classical architectures; the breakbeats by Bruner add a funky touch, and Clarke's layered basses become a focal foil for the piano. There is an updated reading of Chick Corea's "No Mystery," from Clarke's days with Return to Forever, that captures the tune's near transcendant curiosity without trying to re-create it. The drama brought by Clarke's bass is tense and declamatory. "Sonny Rollins" contains the theme from "Don't Stop the Carnival" and a Caribbean feel, but pays tribute to the saxophonist's entire career; it was written by Clarke with wonderfully knotty passages on acoustic and electric basses. Sheppard's fine soloing and fills make it a jumper. "I Wanna Play for You Too" is funkily self-explanatory for Clarke fans, while "Bass Folk Song #10" is a gorgeous solo piece. "Fulani" is an excellent piece of contemporary fusion. ~ Thom Jurek
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