@ZackTeibloom “Without guys like Stanley Clarke, there wouldn’t be Vic Wooten,” Kappel told me. Would you need anything else to convince you to make sure you saw this guy? I sure didn’t. We woke up Friday to find out Aretha Franklin had canceled and Earth Wind and Fire had taken her place. I can’t pretend it wasn’t distressing.
How her voice would sound was a wild card after a couple shaky recent performances. What we didn’t know was that neither Aretha, nor her replacement of Earth Wind and fire would have been a factor. Earth Wind and Fire was fun, but neither they or Aretha could have hoped to come close to the virtuosic performances from Stanley Clarke. I said “Aretha who?” after the set and no one disagreed. Maybe it was better this way.
He’s known for his work in the jazz-fusion group Return to Forever with Chick Corea, but put Stanley Clarke with anyone and prepare to be spellbound. He got freaky-ridiculous on a bass/stand-up bass, Heromi did things I didn’t know you could do with a piano, and Lenny White played like he hoped to explode his drum kit. When you get half a dozen rousing standing ovations from an older crowd mid-song, something special is going on.
This was a collection of talent that oozed out. Clarke drew your attention most the way his hands flew up and down his instruments. He gives his bass’ a spanking and he’s not afraid to broadcast it. In this video, Clarke rips a stand-up bass apart. He’s a wizard on any of them, but his hands move like he’s tickling a harp on the stand-up.
He had a song called “Three Wrong Notes” and I think those may be the only missed notes of the tens of thousands these masters strung together. It’s rare to get this collection of talent together. I felt lucky to have caught it. Even if Aretha stays on the “have to see” list because of it.