Jul 8, 2010
Stanley Clarke continues his partnership with Japanese pianist Hiromi on “The Stanley Clarke Band” (Heads Up Records), a CD that nicely shows the various facets of the ace bassist’s music. Hiromi may be the finest acoustic musician Clarke has played with in decades, and he brings out the expressive side of Clarke’s playing. Their remake of “No Mystery” is subtle and shimmering, with a searing guest guitar solo from Charles Altura. “Labyrinth” begins with a driving piano solo and features some great interplay between Clarke, Hiromi and drummer Ronald Bruner, Jr.
When he wants the band to go electric, Clarke turns to Ruslan, a synthesizer and electric pianist. He enlivens the Caribbean-spiced “Sonny Rollins” with his runs, and “Fulani” is an effort worthy of Clarke’s former band Return to Forever. It’s nice to see Clarke concentrate on group dynamics rather than sheer pyrotechnics, making this CD a welcome addition to Clarke’s catalogue.