The Stanley Clarke Band

[Heads Up]

The challenge for the jazz bassist as leader is to keep the music from becoming an exercise in bottom-focused strutting. A display of ace technique is expected, but most listeners lose interest quickly if there isn’t a song to be found among the rhythmic workouts. Stanley Clarke has always kept musicality at the fore—he understands that it’s not only possible but essential to entertain accessibly even while spilling out the most savory of licks. This new collection is deliberately titled The Stanley Clarke Band to emphasize the creative partnership among its participants. Retaining the charismatic and talented pianist Hiromi Uehara from last year’s Jazz in the Garden, and filling out the lineup with regular keyboardist Ruslan Sirota and drummer Ronald Bruner Jr., Clarke offers a panoramic view of his expansive range and capabilities. The primarily electric set offers enough bass mastery to please the hardcore, but takes stylistic detours to keep the music dynamic.

–Jeff Tamarkin

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