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The most complete Stanley Clarke 1970s albums collection!
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The bass has seen its share of extraordinary innovators in the hundred-plus years of jazz history. Stanley Clarke, much like such hallowed figures as Jimmy Blanton, Charles Mingus and Scott LaFaro, was a game changer on his instrument. Unlike those who came before him though, Clarke helped alter the nature of both the acoustic and electric configurations of the bass. His groundbreaking work of the 1970s has been so integrated into the very fabric of modern jazz bass playing that a return visit to his own brilliant recordings can be nothing less than a revelatory listening experience.
By the time he was in his early twenties, Clarke had already apprenticed in the bands of, among others, Horace Silver, Pharoah Sanders and Stan Getz; his phenomenal technique, rich tone and melodic phrasing galvanizing the acoustic bass into previously unheard territory. Uniting with keyboardist Chick Corea in the various editions of the Return To Forever band, Clarke began incorporating the electric bass into his arsenal. Blending funk-styled finger popping and virtuosic strumming techniques – mated with his harmonic and compositional sophistication -- Clarke alerted a new generation of fusion players to the instrument’s untapped potential.
Clarke’s own recordings of the time are ripe with superb playing from the leader and such illustrious fans as drummer Tony Williams, keyboardists Jan Hammer and George Duke, and guitarists Jeff Beck and John McLaughlin, just to name check guests from Clarke’s first two albums. With his third album, School Days, Clarke became a bonified jazz-funk hero: the greasy bass line of the title track remains a yardstick of groove playing; to this day, no self-respecting electric bassist dares not have it under his or her fingers.
Subsequent albums found the now revered bassist mixing rock, jazz, R&B and orchestral textures with comfort, originality and boldness. Make no mistake, each of these pioneering Clarke recordings can sit proudly alongside the fusion masterworks of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report and Return To Forever.
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