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  • 21st Century Dizzy: Danilo Perez and Friends
  • Angelique Kidjo
  • Ann Hampton Callaway
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  • Stanley Clarke

     

    Renowned bassist STANLEY CLARKE'S new recording, The Stanley Clarke Band, was released June 15, 2010, on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group, and the Roxboro Entertainment Group labels. The album is produced by Clarke and Lenny White. Unlike his previous acoustic bass release, Clarke feels that this album’s music is new and different from just about anything he’s done before. The range of collaborative material here has allowed him to venture to new levels of experimentation utilizing his arsenal of bass instruments. If forced, he compares this new CD to the first three albums of his solo career on Nemperor Records, Journey to Love, Stanley Clarke and School Days, with long extended electric pieces – a kind of journey.

    “Technically, it’s a Stanley Clarke record, but it’s very much a band-oriented record at the same time,” says Clarke. “I may be the leader, but everyone played an important role in what emerged. If a project like this can be looked at like a ship, I’d be the one steering the ship and keeping everybody on course. But all hands were definitely on deck, and everyone played an important role in getting us to our destination.”

    Also new for Clarke, the album is made up of compositions from members of the band. He is joined by Stanley Clarke Band keyboardist Ruslan Sirota and drummer Ronald Bruner, Jr. – who have been performing and recording with him for the better part of five years. Innovative young musicians, they have virtually grown up in Clarke’s band and bring a freshness he admires. Following 2009’s Jazz In the Garden, this is featured artist Hiromi Uehara’s second Clarke recording collaboration. Clarke’s rugged and complex bass work serves as the ideal foil for her trademark fiery and expressive piano chops.

    “There are people on The Stanley Clarke Band other than myself who have something to say,” explains Clarke. “Everyone on this project brought their own music and their own ideas. The styles of the individual tunes may be different, but the continuous thread that runs through the whole record is the fact that we’re all operating as a unit on each track.”

    Featured artist, pianist Hiromi, is a huge star in Japan and quickly making her name here in the states as a performer and recording artist. Generally regarded as a solo artist, she shifts effortlessly into a band setting, says Clarke. “She doesn’t need to be on the stage with anybody else, because she’s a phenomenon on the piano,” he says. “But, she likes collaborating with other musicians. She can play faster than anybody, but she can really listen, and she’s right there with you.” Hiromi composed and performs “Labyrinth” on the album. She performs on several other tracks as well.

    Acoustic pianist/composer/arranger Ruslan Sirota, a child prodigy now twenty-seven, has already traveled the world, playing with some of the biggest names in classical and pop music. Born in the Ukraine, he was exposed early in his youth to American Jazz and improvisation, and now shows an intelligence and understanding of the genre way beyond his years. “Ruslan is becoming a recognizable force in the music world,” Clarke notes. “He is one of the few musicians I’m aware of that knows a thousand songs. He has a unique understanding of the Jazz language.” On this album Ruslan brings an unparalleled contribution in piano performances, not only on keyboard but with his profound melodic techniques on the acoustic piano. On The Stanley Clarke Band he wrote “Soldiers” and performs on almost all tracks. Ruslan has a solo album coming out later this year that has him playing duets with renowned pianists Chick Corea and George Duke. It will be released by Roxboro Entertainment Group.

    Ronald Bruner, Jr., also a twenty-seven year old child prodigy, is a second-generation drummer extraordinaire. His earliest influence was his father, Ronald Bruner, Sr., a world class drummer who has performed and recorded with Diana Ross, the Temptations and Gladys Knight. Clarke feels that Bruner is probably one of the most important young drummers on the scene today and compares his innovation, technique and skill to that of the legendary drummer Tony Williams. Although a dynamic fixture in Clarke’s touring band, Bruner has also performed with George Duke, Lee Ritenour, Suicidal Tendencies, Wayne Shorter and many more. Clarke observes, “drummers young and old look in Ronald’s direction and they are all taking noticed of this young power house.” Bruner co-wrote and arranged with Clarke “How’s the Weather Up There” for The Stanley Clarke Band. He is also finishing up his first solo album.

    Among the additional players in the album’s supporting cast are vocalist Cheryl Bentyne (a longtime member of The Manhattan Transfer); guitarists Charles Altura (a powerful, young virtuoso to keep an eye on), Rob Bacon and Armand Sabal-Lecco; saxophonist Bob Sheppard; bass synthesizer Lorenzo “Larry” Dunn (of Earth, Wind & Fire fame); keyboardist Felton Pilate; horns Andrew Lippman and John Paperbook; and drum programmers Chris Clarke and Jon Hakakian.

    Perhaps the most appealing aspect of The Stanley Clarke Band is the exceptionally organic nature of its genesis – the sense of grassroots creativity that existed outside of any efforts to tailor the music to any specific segment of the market.

    This year The Stanley Clarke Band and Hiromi will be touring together domestically and internationally.

    Clarke concludes, “This is the last electric album I’m going to do for awhile. The legacy of this release is that I’m providing lots of material and homework for a new generation of bassists to catch up with. I’ve worked hard to give the bass a distinctive voice. Now with bass conventions, all types of bass accessories as well as hundreds of bass magazines and blogs, I feel so excited about where it’s going.”

     

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      Stanley Clarke Band dates, use only these shots.
      Do not use these w/ Hiromi pictures for any Stanley Clarke Band dates. photo credit: Henry Cheung  
      Use these photos only for Clarke/Copeland dates. photo credit: Toshi Sakurai  
     

     

    Management Stanley Clarke Tours
    sofiaclarke@stanleyclarke.com
    Publicity Diane Hadley
    310-392-5457
    dhadleypr@gmail.com
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