Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Stanley Clarke Band: Up - DownBeat

The Stanley Clarke Band

This over-the-top meditation on Clarke's impressive career features 30 musicians. Many are drawn from the youthful well of Los Angeles up-and-comers but there are also plenty of Clarke's contemporaries making cameos. The first few tracks suffer from a funk that could only be categorized as "80s sitcom theme." The flash and intricacy of Clarke's arranging is present, but so is the overwhelming production and lack of vulnerability. Clarke's command of the upright bass finally takes control of the album five tracks in. He takes two solo snippets that are a beautiful glimpse to another, more appealing record. Clarke returns to a few catalogue hits, too, including "Brazilian Love Affair" (dedicated to the late George Duke) and the perennial crowd-pleaser "School Days." Chick Corea and Clarke close the album with a duo performance of "La Cancion de Sofia" that is as welcome as the solo bass tracks.

The Stanley Clarke Band @ DownBeat

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