COMPOSERS: Stanley Clarke Trio
LABELS: Heads Up
PERFORMER: Stanley Clarke (bass), Hiromi (piano), Lenny White (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: HUCD 3155
This is the first album under his own name for which Clarke has used acoustic bass. He’s best known for dexterity on electric bass, for developing the slap technique, and for co-founding the hugely successful, influential band Return to Forever (RtF).
White was also an early member of RtF, and Hiromi is often categorised as fusion, though only neo-‘mouldie-fygges’ (trad jazz fans) would deny that her playing is essentially jazz, regardless of context. Whatever, this album, conceived as a straight-ahead jazz session, works splendidly.
Clarke is celebrated for bringing the bass out of the traditional rhythm-section background and functioning as a front-line plank-spanker, but Hiromi’s fresh, crisp, airy, imaginative playing is strong enough to ensure that this is genuinely a trio record. She also contributes some fine compositions and arrangements to the excellent selection of tunes. Clarke displays his skill, scrumptious acoustic
tone and melodic adeptness, but doesn’t unbalance the music. Barry Witherden