Stanley Clarke's "Stanley Clarke Band"
Words By Benjamin Michael Solis
Stanley Clarke’s self-titled Stanley Clarke Band won the Grammy for “Best
Contemporary Jazz Album” this year at the prestigious music awards ceremony. It deserved album of the year.
Keeping in line with his jazz-rock-fusion roots, the record is a stunning
achievement for the genre, and Clarke as well.
“I Want To Play For You Too,” a track of solid, old-school funk, revisits Clarke’s
ability to slap over chord changes – a feat most of his predecessors were unable to accomplish.
Songs like “Soldier” (penned by Israeli pianist and band member Ruslan
Sirota), “How’s The Weather Up There?” and “Larry Traveled 11 Miles and Waited A Lifetime for Vishnu’s Report” are all heavy bangers in the purest sense of what the fusion of hard rock and straight ahead jazz should sound like.
Even SCB’s reworking of Chick Corea’s Return To Forever masterpiece “No
Mystery” is heavier. Cleaned up by modern recording technology and a new
arrangement, this song in particular offers a stronger back-beat and cleaner licks.
And the comparison of the two bands is palpable. Guitarist Charles Altura, Sirota, pianist Hiromi Uehara all eerily resemble Corea, Clarke and RTF guitarist Al Di Meola, while drummer Ronald Bruner, Jr.’s playing pays homage to Billy Cobham and the late Tony Williams.
If you didn’t know any better, you would assume that this was all new material
released by RTF.
“I don’t care what they do with it,” Clarke told The Washtenaw Voice,
commenting on the future of jazz and his young backing band. “It’s their thing and they can take it where they want.”