Stanley Clarke

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Stanley Clarke

Post by implandnoises » Mon Aug 06, 2007 12:48 am

Ok, this must be a fairly new forum if I am the first to make Stanley Clarke a topic in the Bassists area.

I am just going to make a short post from memory about the giant. Forgive my mistakes.

Stanley Clarke is a virtuoso as well as a great composer. He was a phenomenal player on both the upright and the electric bass at a young age and landed some great gigs by the time he was 20, 21 with jazz fusion greats such as Chic Corea and John McLaughlin in the early 70s. He played in Return to Forever as well as the Mahavishnu Orchestra amongst others, but he really shone on his solo albums - especially the breakthrough album School Days.

Every player who reads this should listen to at least the title track from the School Days album. The central riff is timeless and the solo is incredible. If you haven't heard him, realise that there is a great number of bass players that you have heard that can trace at least some of their style back to this man.

He usually played a four string that he called the Brown Bass - I believe it was an Alembic. He also played other kinds of bass guitars such as six string and an unusual beast called a piccolo bass. These three instruments can be heard on the same tracks together and they work well as they cover a great range from very low(six string) to very high(piccolo - up an octave).

For years now, Stanley Clarke has been concentrating on movie soundtracks. You may have heard his work on Passenger 57 and Romeo Must Die amongst others.

Last edited by implandnoises on Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Stanley Clarke

Post by Dan » Mon Aug 06, 2007 12:53 am

Welcome to the forum implandnoises!

Stanley Clarke was definitely one of my first strong influences, I still love all the Return to Forever stuff particularly. Good post :)

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Re: Stanley Clarke

Post by implandnoises » Mon Aug 06, 2007 1:12 am

Sweet. My dad got me to listen to Stanley Clarke when I first started playing. I didn't turn into a jazz or fusion player, but he is certainly a key influence.


another Dan.

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Re: Stanley Clarke

Post by ryla » Mon Aug 06, 2007 8:26 am

stanley was good to me to especially 'song to john pt 1, - also silly putty.

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Re: Stanley Clarke

Post by foal30 » Mon Aug 06, 2007 9:51 am

I think I *BANNED* myself first time I heard "School Days" in all its glory.
RTF , theme song for Radio with Pictures.

I like the stuff with Beck and DiMeola but I found the Duke project a little poppy or lightweight. I wanted more Bass badness really, the big riffs are good.
I think he is on a McCartney tune as well... I heard it a couple of times on the Radio...spanking bass line.

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Re: Stanley Clarke

Post by definite » Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:43 pm

+ check out the Primus version of stanley clarks 'silly putty' on the rhinoplasty EP - its awesome!

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Re: Stanley Clarke

Post by implandnoises » Thu Aug 09, 2007 3:31 am

Very true about Claypool's Silly Putty. Damn, that CD was stolen! Need to hear it again!

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Re: Stanley Clarke

Post by BrendonM » Sun Aug 12, 2007 8:42 pm

Stanley Clarke (born 30 June 1951, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA) is an American musician and composer known for his innovative and influential work on double bass and bass guitar as well as his numerous film and television scores.

Genre(s): Jazz, Jazz fusion, rock
Occupation(s): Double bassist, Bass guitarist, Electric bassist
Instrument(s): Double bass, Bass guitar, Electric bass
Associated acts: Return to Forever, Chick Corea

Early life and education
Clarke was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Having physically outgrown the violin and the cello led him to playing Upright bass. Having graduated from the Philadelphia Academy of Music, he moved to New York City in 1971 and began working with famous bandleaders and musicians including Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Dexter Gordon, Gato Barbieri, Joe Henderson, Chick Corea, Pharoah Sanders, Gil Evans, Stan Getz and Al Di Meola.

Return to Forever
During this period he joined the jazz fusion group Return to Forever led by pianist Chick Corea. The group became one of the most important fusion groups and released several successful and musically highly varied albums. Clarke also started his solo career in the early 1970s and released a number of albums under his own name. His most famous album is School Days (1976), which, along with Jaco Pastorius's self-titled debut, is held up as one of the greatest bass albums in the history of jazz. His albums Stanley Clarke (1974) and Journey to Love (1975) are also notable.

Film and Television
From the small screen scores for ABC's short-lived series "A Man Called Hawk" and an Emmy nominated score for "Pee-wee's Playhouse" Clarke moved on to the silver screen as composer, orchestrator, conductor and performer of scores for such films as: Boyz N the Hood, What's Love Got to Do with It (the Tina Turner Story), Passenger 57, Higher Learning, Poetic Justice, Panther, The Five Heartbeats, Book of Love, Little Big League, and Romeo Must Die. He also scored a Michael Jackson video release directed by John Singleton entitled Remember the Time. Currently his scoring may be heard on the Showtime Network program Soul Food.

Clarke's electric bass style is a combination of many factors.
Equipment - Clarke has always been very strongly associated with Alembic basses and the vast majority of his recorded output has been produced with one model of Alembic or another, particularly a dark-wood-colored custom bass in the Series I body style. These basses are handmade neck-through instruments made from a mixture of exotic woods and a proprietary active pickup system that is powered from an external preamplifier. Clarke also utilizes full-range amplification for his basses, more in keeping with a keyboardist's rig than a bassist's or guitarists. As a result, Clarke's tone is full-bodied and woody-sounding, with an organic flavor.

Physical size - Clarke is a slim 6'3" and his Alembic basses tend to be short-scale (in this case, 30-3/4" versus a typical 34"), so in his hands, the Alembic seems almost like a toy. As a result, having large hands and powerful musculature in his arms and hands gives him extra command over the instrument in terms of power, range, and speed. Many of the figures that Clarke plays are very difficult for a smaller bassist to play on a larger bass.

Right-hand technique - The classic Clarke right-hand posture has his fingers approaching the strings much as they would on an upright bass, but rotated through 90 degrees. To achieve this, his forearm lies above and nearly parallel to the strings, while his wrist is hooked downward at nearly a right angle. For lead and solo purposes, his fingers partially hook underneath the strings so that when releases, the strings snap against the frets, producing a biting percussive attack. In addition to an economical variation on the Larry Graham-style pop-n'-slap technique, Clarke also uses downward thrusts of the entire right hand, striking two or more strings from above with his fingernails (examples include "School Days," "Rock and Roll Jelly," "Wild Dog," and "Danger Street").

Stanley Clarke is one of the most important bassists of the jazz-fusion era (c. 1972-1982).

Stanley Clarke is also the first influential bassist to use piccolo bass prominently. (A piccolo bass is a bass guitar, tuned one octave higher - Clarke's are usually short scale (30.75"), four string, Carl Thompson or Alembic.) On Chick Corea's 1976 album "My Spanish Heart", Clarke can be heard on double bass, too, most notably on "Armando's Rhumba".

Animal Logic
He formed Animal Logic with rock drummer Stewart Copeland, after the break-up of The Police, and singer-songwriter Deborah Holland. The trio had success with their first album and world tour but the follow-up sold poorly, and the band did not continue.

In 2005 he started the acoustic supergroup TRIO! with Bela Fleck and Jean-Luc Ponty, which toured the Eastern U.S. and played all of the major Jazz Festivals.

External links
* - Stanley Clarke's official website
* - Stanley Clarke interview from April 26, 1998.
* ... 7&lang=rus - Stanley Clarke. Fotoreport from Jazz Koktebel 2006.

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Re: Stanley Clarke

Post by irvinz » Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:18 pm

lol. i like it how these stupid spam bots bump up old threads!

but since we are on the stanley clarke topic.
the first time i really sat down to listen properly to his stuff was for smv.
thats right

stanley marcus victor. i was surprised with a cd of that much bass intense stuff, how u still can pick up their distinct individual styles etc.
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Re: Stanley Clarke

Post by fallingleaf » Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:43 am

I think my fav Clarke album is "If this Bass could only talk". Really great album showing off his bass playing, but its also pleasant to listen to. Have actually plaed that as background music to several dinner parties and blew a few 'non-muso/bass' minds!!!

Try learn the title song to that album - quite rewarding - search on you tube for it - you might find me playing it on the pedulla....pretty rough though!!! :?
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Re: Stanley Clarke

Post by beagle » Fri Sep 24, 2010 12:15 pm

1977 performance of 'Hot Fun' at the Montreux Jazz Festival.

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