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The Stanley Clark Band – “UP”

The Stanley Clark Band - UP

CD Review: “UP” by The Stanley Clark

There are only a handful of iconic bassists of our time and I would dare say that most would agree that Stanley Clark is one of them. It is no surprise that I was happy to get my hands on this CD and even more to be writing this review, as Stanley does not disappoint. All of the tracks were composed and often arranged by Stanley himself and he recruited a variety of excellent musicians to support the project; their combined efforts are nothing less that excellent!

Lets have a closer look at some of the tracks.

“Pop Vigil” is the first on deck and Stanley comes out swinging with this “James Brown/Motown” style track. Lots of attitude and funk highlight Stanley’s  absolute dominion of the bass, with slapping, popping, and harmonics in a nicely rounded package. Tight horns, driving drums and the classic guitar riff make this tune a solid choice to get us started. The “Oh Yeah” at the end makes me think that Stanley was as pleased with the result as I was to listen.

“Last Train to Sanity” is a dramatic change of pace, as it could be part of a score for a Broadway show. The use of strings and voices further enhances the dramatic effect.  Showing a totally different bass-attack confirms Stanley’s comfort with diverse styles of music and his ability to transition seamlessly to acoustic bass.

Up”, the title track, illicits an image of climbing. it is energetic, aggressive  and flavored with bits of flowing funk; this would be a good workout tune!

“Brazilian Love Affair” opens with classic Brazilian vocals and percussion and flows along with a Samba progression that reminds me of the feel that Sergio Mendez brought to this country back in the 60’s;  the piece takes us on a musical journey through time. This is another great example of a brilliant arrangement that highlights some serious piano work and the drum work is just crazy! The bass keeps the whole thing tied together and there is a juicy acoustic bass solo in the center of it all.

“La Cancion de Sophia” is a beautiful acoustic bass and piano piece with none other than Chick Corea on the piano. Stanley is clearly as comfortable with a bow in his hand as he is with his Alembic. This romantic piece has elements of Tango and Bolero blended into a sweet musical statement that makes us wonder who Sophia is. Clearly she must be very special.

I don’t think I need to go into more detail for you to get the idea here. This CD is a masterpiece of bass work and of musical perfection.

You will have to hear this one for yourself!

UP is available at Amazon.com as of September 30, 2014.

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