Stanley Clarke - School days

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by bass87, Feb 8, 2003.

  1. I listened to this yesterday on an admittedly knackered vinyl, but I was really disappointed. The music seemed to lack any sort of direction, and was all flimsy, and well, boring. Has anyone else found this or am I just raving mad?
  2. DaveBeny


    Mar 22, 2000
    London, UK
    Hey, another TalkBasser from Birmingham!

    Here's a good review from, who are generally spot-on:
    "Every pro electric-bass player and their mothers wore out the grooves of this record when it first came out, trying to cop Clarke's speedy, thundering, slapped-thumb bass licks. Yet ultimately, it was Clarke's rapidly developing compositional skills that made this album so listenable and so much fun for the rest of us, then and now. The title track not only contributed a killer riff to the bass vocabulary; it is a cunningly organized piece of music with a well-defined structure. Moreover, Clarke follows his calling card with two tunes that are even more memorable — the sauntering ballad "Quiet Afternoon" and an ebullient, Brazilian percussion-laced number with a good string arrangement and a terrific groove, "The Dancer." Clarke also brings out the standup bass for a soulful acoustic dialogue with John McLaughlin on "Desert Song." Evidently enthused by their leader's material, David Sancious (keyboards) and Raymond Gomez (guitars) deliver some of their best solos on records — and with George Duke on hand on one cut, you hear some preliminary flickerings of Clarke's ventures into the commercial sphere. But at this point in time, Clarke was triumphantly proving that it was possible to be both good and commercial at the same time."

    I think that pretty much says it all. His work since 'School Days' has been of variable quality, but he is definitely one of the better bassist-composers out there. I would reccomend that you check out his playing on Return To Forever's 'Light as a Feather' and 'Romantic Warrior'.
  3. I don't think "School Days" is the kind of album you can listen to once and draw a conclusion. Give it a few spins (maybe get a better recording) and I'll bet it will grown on you.;)
  4. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    I'm another one who can't get into old Stanley Clarke. I own his self-titled album and have heard "School Days" many times, and all his non-acoustic work is just not my thing at all; just completely unenjoyable on any level, even as a bassist.
  5. Hey David, where you from in Brum?
    Thanks for the review, Ill have to check out his other stuff, and listen to School Days again and see if it grows on me. What non solo albums is Stanley Clarke featured on?
  6. Must be a generation gap issue, I remember hearing School Days and Jaco Pastorius at almost the same time (back in the day)-- being blown away and inspried to convert to being a bass player. I still enjoy and draw inspiration from those records and many others and frankly have rearely heard anything or anyone better.
    My gawd am I getting that old?
  7. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    I've always loved school days personally. I remember buying school days. It was when I first got into all of the jazz-fusion guys. I bought school days, Heavy Weather, and Bright Size Life all in the same store at the same time. I had a pretty nice afternoon. :cool:
  8. Da_Niet


    Jan 23, 2003
    Some of you guys aren't all that impressed with "School Days", huh? Well, here's a quick remedy. Pop in your copy(be it CD, tape, or vinyl) of RTF's "Light as a Feather", and shut your eyes. Listening to the command and audacity of Clarke's playing on that one will remind ANY skeptic out there of his importance on the instrument. Also, remember that this album predated Jaco's entry onto the scene by about 4-5 years!
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Light as a Feather is a great album, one of my favourites, but I don't think you can put the overall sound or compositions down to Stanley Clarke - it's very much Chick Corea's album and his crossover/fusion with Brazilian music - Flora Purim and Airto.

    But The Double Bass solos on this album are jaw-dropping!!

    I like the bass solo on the track "School Days", but this sums up my amibivalence to Stanley Clarke's solo work right up to today and Vertu. So the bass sound and playing on the track School Days is fantastic and the solo is very melodic and Jazzy. But the drumming is very "leaden" and rock - while the guitar playing is horrible to me - nasty distorted sounds and boring solos - just pentatonic shredding. So I often find that his albums are unlistenable for pleasure - but I do like his actual bass playing.

    So it is a question of - do you buy albums just for the great bass playing and try to ignore the bits that grate - like the rock guitar?

    Or only go for albums like Light as a Feather that are satisfying as a whole?
  10. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Yeah, it was definitely mainly a Chick thing (with some astonishingly good bass from Clarke, though). But it's a great album. Spain has been a favourite of mine ever since I first heard it.
  11. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    Clarke played a lot with Chick Corea as mentioned .. but also did some stuf with greats like Stan Getz, Joe henderson, Pharoah Saunders , John Mclaughlin.......

  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    He played on Santana's Borboletta.
  13. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    I dig "School Days". But not every day of the week. But it's still cool.