Stanley Clarke at Newport

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by Paul Warburton, Dec 31, 2003.

  1. Just happened to channel surf into a Public TV video of a Newport Jazz Fest. Pat Metheny's Trio sounded really good...Then came Stanley Clarkes' band with TWO bass guitars. IMHO, this was the most indecent display of chops i've heard and seen in years. These guys were so busy fanning, and trying to impress the audience with their physical actions, that I can honestly say I didn't hear any music! I don't know how they got through their set without getting a serious case of whiplash from their sillyness.
    Then Stanley picked up his double bass and did another tasteless, fanning, double, triple stopping, dancing imitation of a Flamenco guitarist.
    Folks, show business is alive and well!
  2. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    I was there, with my son: It was only the second time I've Stan; the first was the 1983/84 Return to Forever Reunion tour. That show was a highlight for me at the time.

    Stan's acoustic playing on records like Light as a Feather were enormously inspiring to me when I started playing. I still love those discs.

    I agree with you, Paul, that his electric playing has always tended to be flashy -- pardon me, make that FLASHY!!! Our tastes align: For me, the Newport concert was less in the category of timeless artistry than simple "Hot Fun."
  3. Just another example of how MTV, among other trends, has jettisoned our culture into the crapper. And how the unwashed masses mistake style for substance. It is no wonder that jazz and classical CDs combine for less than 3% of all CD sales yearly.

    That didn't sound jaded or snotty, did it?
  4. Sam, this reminds me of a thread in which the topic was about playing with eyes closed vs. engaging the audience. Could you post the link? I've been thinking about this lately.
  5. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Stanley was a HUGE influence on me when i was a kid. Now, when i listen to his music it doesn't do much for me.

    HE made his name as a BG player but really disses that instrument now. Did i just write "disses ?" Good grief. At any rate I wish that he would focus his talents in more creative directions.
  6. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    To me Stanley Clarke sounds the best when he's accompanying another great jazz musician (Stan Getz, Chick Corea, Mccoy etc.)

    His solo stuff can get pretty uninteresting after a while and often result in a wankfest - although they usually groove anyway ;)

  7. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    I dug out Stanley's first solo lp yesterday. Stanley ! Intonation. Intonation. Intonation !

    I must say i like the record, still, after 20 years. But I was amazed at the blatantly bad intonation in some spots. He plays a chordal figure at the end of one of his motifs and the top note is almost always out of tune.

    Did they just not notice when they edited this stuff ?
  8. It's really a trade off. If you notice, the guys with the ultra chops and it ends up being the same guys that spend alot of time up in the thumb positions, are the one's with the questionable intonation. The music becomes secondary in the blazing speed, and physical antics of some of these players. I don't want to step on any toes and guys like Michael Moore are exceptions to this, because the music comes first with him and a few others. It just seems to me that alot of people play up there just because they think it looks cool.
  9. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Oh I agree. Virtuoso Syndrom: Vladimir Horowitz had it, so do many other musicians.