Sunday, March 7, 2010

Stanley Clarke Returns to the Studio with Hiromi and Saxophonist Bob Sheppard

Stanley Clarke and Lenny White recording a solo with Hiromi.

Stanley Clarke was in the studio this past week with producer Lenny White to record some sonic pyrotechnics with Japanese pianist Hiromi and guest saxophonist Bob Sheppard. Clarke's working band were also on hand: Ruslan Sirota on keyboards, Ronald Bruner, Jr., on drums, and Charles Altura on guitar. This "fiery" (as Clarke aptly described them) band of young guns play their instruments like thrill-seeking street racers and bring it with more than enough horsepower to support Clarke's high-energy musicality.

The diverse tunes featured on the album will include a nugget from Clarke's and White's days with Return To Forever - although I missed getting to hear them record it, White supplied a clue: "Wait 'til you hear what we did with 'No Mystery,'" he said wide-eyed. "It is rocked-out." Amongst the other tunes is a tribute to the great tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins penned by Clarke, and a tune written for Clarke by his keyboardist Ruslan Sirota.

Producer Lenny White and keyboardist Ruslan Sirota.

Asked to describe his composition, Sirota says
"it's called 'Soldier.' It's a very story-like piece. When hearing it, you clearly get the different chapters of the journey: the contemplation, the battle, the realization and the hope, and it's all laid out for the bass guitar."

Balancing the seriousness of that, Sirota noted that the Sonny Rollins tribute "is a funkyfied homage" that he thinks "may very well be the happiest tune Stanley ever wrote."

That's saying something. Stanley Clarke has been writing happy songs right from the start, and has written some of the happiest and most memorable jazz tunes ever recorded. By the time he was 26 years old he had written three of them that were destined to become standards: "Light As A Feather," "Silly Putty" and "School Days."

Here comes another one.

Jazz/rock legends Stanley Clarke and Lenny White.

Contented composer and bassist, Stanley Clarke.

Producer Lenny White.


Linda Piccin said...

Fired up!

What I love about Clarke and his working band is the timelessness of this booming Boomer’s interactions with this new blood – synchronized generations in the language of jazz. As a mature Main Man, it is evident on stage that Stanley takes delight in their “fiery” contributions, this fieriness he recognizes as his own caliber when he was their age. I see a long and bright future ahead for all of them.

As one of the masters, Clarke will be listened to for centuries to come! - Linda de La Jolla

Carl Hager said...

Agreed. Stanley knows how to pick 'em, doesn't he? These young lions - Ruslan, Ronald and Charles - are going to be heard from.