CD Review: Stanley Clarke Band "Up"

The latest from the Lord of the Low Frequencies is an invigorating career kaleidoscope made all the more vital by pertinent personnel choices and Clarke’s equal time on acoustic and electric bass.
Author:
Publish date:

The latest from the Lord of the Low Frequencies is an invigorating career kaleidoscope made all the more vital by pertinent personnel choices and Clarke’s equal time on acoustic and electric bass. The James Brown-nodding opener, “Pop Virgil,” is a groove-and-slap fest augmented with horns and anchored by J.R. Robinson and Greg Phillinganes. “Last Train to Sanity” summons Stanley’s film and classical side, with recent tour-mates the Harlem String Quartet getting a workout. “Up,” fueled by Clarke’s incessant eighth-note pulse, Stewart Copeland’s drums, and Joe Walsh’s guitar, recalls the bassist’s ’80s rock and pop period. The late George Duke, a close friend, is honored with a joyous cover of his “Brazilian Love Affair.” Chick Corea joins Clarke for the live, bowed ballad “La Canción de Sofia.” And southern guitar force Jimmy Herring leads an update of “School Days.”

Elsewhere, Clarke weaves in three more of his acoustic “Bass Folk Songs,” including the bluesy “#13: Mingus,” and the finger-flying “#14: Dance of the Giant Hummingbird,” while adding the mournful tenor bass guitar chord-melody “#7: Tradition.” Ultimately, it’s the edgy “Gotham City,” the laid-back “I Have Something to Tell You Tonight,” and the title track that allow Clarke to most creatively work in multiple layers of bass in his inimitable style.

Related

Stanley Clarke: Reflections of a Root Revolutionary

It’s been over 40 years since stanley clarke liberated the low end, but the crowd at Manhattan’s Iridium jazz club has a collective look of astonishment as Clarke swiftly spans the full scale of his upright fingerboard, coaxing warm, resonant notes that both lead and support the music.

CD Review: Hiromi "Alive"

Having made three recordings and played countless concerts with Anthony Jackson and drummer Simon Phillips, gifted piano goddess Hiromi set out to capture the super-trio’s live spontaneity and vivacity on her latest studio effort.

Review: Tedeschi Trucks Band "Made Up Mind"

TTB hasn’t quite gone the Gov’t Mule/Allen Woody route in replacing Oteil Burbridge (who is taking some downtime off the road, except for the Allman Bros.) but they are sampling a cadre of capable basshands, including Ted Pecchio, George Porter, Jr, Eric Krasno, Bakithi Kumalo, and Tim Lefebvre on the road, and Pino Palladino, Kumalo, Dave Monsey, and George Reiff on their potent new CD.

CD Review: "Mocean Worker"

Encouraged by Marcus Miller, with whom he has recorded and performed (most recently on “I Can’t Breathe” from Miller’s Afrodeezia), DJ Mocean Worker puts his considerable bass skills front and center for the first time on his latest house/electro-swing effort.