Legendary bassist Stanley Clarke considers his upcoming Mack Avenue Records release, The Stanley Clarke Band's Up, to be the most energetic, rhythmic, and upbeat album that he has ever done -- and with more than 40 solo albums under his belt, that's saying quite a lot. Clarke's signature bass virtuosity and technical acumen is present throughout, but the enjoyment he had in making this album is also apparent. Unlike his predominantly acoustic bass work on the last few albums, Up is almost equal parts electric and acoustic bass.
"My aim here was to make a record with my friends. Every single recording session was nothing but fun," says Clarke. "Surrounding myself with people I enjoy being with made the sessions effortless. Everyone came prepared and ready to play. All were great musicians and they came to the studio to give everything they had."
Much like his last Grammy Award-winning album, Stanley Clarke Band, this new release features the inclusion of former bandmates pianist/keyboardist Ruslan Sirota and drummer Ronald Bruner, Jr., who toured with him for seven years and were Clarke's co-Grammy Award-winners for the Best Contemporary Jazz Album of 2011. Two of Clarke's current touring band members, acoustic pianist Beka Gochiashvili and drummer Mike Mitchell, are also represented on the album. Both are quite young, in their teens, and talented way beyond their years.
Among these other friends Clarke invites to shine on Up are: guitarists Joe Walsh, Jimmy Herring, and Paul Jackson, Jr.; drummers Stewart Copeland, Gerry Brown, and John Robinson; keyboardist Greg Phillinganes; Phil Davis on synthesizer and keyboards; Chick Corea on acoustic piano; saxophonists Kamasi Washington, Doug Webb, and Dan Higgins; vocalists Jessica Vautor, Natasha Agrama, and Patrice Quinn; trumpeter Gary Grant and trombonist Andy Martin on horns; percussionist Lenny Castro; Nick Mancini on marimba; and the Harlem String Quartet with violinists Ilmar Gavilán and Melissa White, Jaime Amador on viola and cellist Matthew Zalkind.
Upcoming Stanley Clarke Performances:
September 1 / Detroit Jazz Festival / Detroit, MI
October 10 - 12 / Yoshi's / San Francisco, CA
October 13 / Kuumbwa / Santa Cruz, CA
October 14 / The Pageant / St. Louis, MO
October 16 / Promontory / Chicago, IL
October 17 / Traift Music Hall / Buffalo, NY
October 22 - 24 / Iridium / New York, NY