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Stanley Clarke | “The Toys of Men” : Recommended Listening With Damian Erskine

Stanley Clarke

“The Toys of Men”

This is the album I’ve been waiting for from Stanley.  I have a deep respect for Stanley Clarke, but, honestly, I always preferred his earliest works both with Chick Corea and as a leader.  “The Toys of Men” is a shining example of what drew everyone to Stanley at the beginning of his career.  It’s powerful, beautiful and soulful.  In many ways, it seems (to me) to be a modern reflection of the Return To Forever recordings.  The “hard hitter” tracks hit so hard, you wonder if he’s now invented the genre of jazz-metal.  The soulful tracks are so thick and juicy you need a wet-nap.  The ballads are so beautifully haunting you just can’t do much but listen …carefully.  There is much to this new release.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention the wonderful drumming of Ron Bruner, Jr..  The track “Bad A*ses” is just that.  Stanley and Ron tearing the roof off all by themselves.  Also of special note are some wonderful solo pieces performed on his 120 year old German flat back acoustic.  Just beautiful. Thanks Stanley!

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