Strike Up The Band


There's no shortage of vision on The Stanley Clarke Band (Heads Up), vision strongly drawn from virtuoso bassist Stanley Clarke's own jazz, rock, classical, and fusion experiences, plus perspectives from his group -- keyboard players from Japan (Hiromi) and Israel (Ruslan Sirota), and drummer Ronald Bruner, Jr. -- and a passel of guest guitarists, horn players, drum programmers, even a vocalist.

The first title that Clarke collectively credits to his band, The Stanley Clarke Band jumps out of your speakers thanks to bright co-production by Clarke and drummer Lenny White, the bassist's partner in the locomotive Return To Forever rhythm engine. Clarke's bass sounds endlessly strong and sure while tunes like "Soldier" and "Fulani" gyrate and twirl colorfully around its foundational sound, and his thumping beat in Chick Corea's fluid "No Mystery" makes it feel no less bubbly.

Clarke stomps out "I Wanna Play For You Too" on thundering bass and talk box, and surveys six foundational progressive jazz-rock fusion ensembles in "Larry Has Traveled 11 Miles And Waited A Lifetime For The Return Of Vishnu's Report," also a clever and powerful reminder of how controversial jazz-rock fusion based on guitars and keyboards initially seemed, and how mainstream it sounds several subsequent generations thereafter.

Clarke can be found in the Concord catalog through the powerhouse trio McCoy Tyner With Stanley Clarke And Al Foster (2000, Telarc), the star-studded concert DVD Night School: An Evening With Stanley Clarke & Friends ('07, Heads Up International), Return To Forever's The Anthology ('08, Concord) and other titles.

in this playlist.