Stanley Clarke

Highline Ballroom, NYC

Author - Dennis Morgillo
Stanley Clarke made his only area appearance and I was lucky enough to be in attendance. This NYC stop was just one of a handful of US tour dates before Stanley embarked on a European tour.

Stanley Clarke is the premier Bass Guitarist of our time. Stanley brought the Bass to the forefront and made it the spotlight instrument. Stanley graduated from the Philly Music Academy and moved to NYC. He was quickly embraced by the old guard of Jazz. He was playing with Dave Brubeck, Stan Getz and Miles Davis. Along with Chick Corea, Al Dimeola and Lenny White, he formed the Jazz Fusion groundbreakers “Return to Forever” and had an amazing career as a solo artist. 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of “Romantic Warrior” and “School Days” which are two of the most influential and groundbreaking albums of the Jazz Fusion genre. 

Stanley hit the stage and came out looking “Bad Ass” in dark shades and proceeded to tear up the Acoustic Bass with beautiful feel and emotion. Touching on all aspects of his long and storied career, Stanley looked and sounded fresh and invigorated. He was having fun up there and meant every note he played. Joining him were a stellar band of young musicians. Beka Gochiashvili (Piano), Cameron Graves (Keys) and Michael Mitchell (Drums). There was not a Guitar to be found on the stage and it sounded like an orchestra up there!  

It was a full house and everyone in the audience was delighted by the amazing display on stage. Also in attendance on this night was Stanley’s former Return to Forever bandmate, the legendary Lenny White. The night was pure Stanley, the sound the feel, every note oozing with emotion and played with brilliant clarity. I was mesmerized by the Man’s expertise on his instrument. Stanley plays with blazing speed, yet every note is melodic and is there for a reason. Stanley closed the show with his anthemic Rock Jazz anthem “School Days” and the crowd was on it’s feet. 

An amazing night by an amazing performer. Madhouse Magazine has officially named Stanley Clarke the Greatest Bass Player to ever live, and I agree. It’s fitting that his Bass is now in the Smithsonian. I wonder if its still smoking!?

Share This Article