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Stanley at his peak,
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This review is from: Journey To Love (Audio CD)
This album shows succinctly the young Stanley Clarke's musicality. All the tunes are penned by him, and with a list of guest musicians; George Duke, John McLaughlin, David Sancious and Steve Gadd, added to his RTF colleagues Lenny White and Chick Corea (playing on different tracks), the whole album concept is all Jazz Rock (or Fusion if you prefer).
Jeff Beck plays on the title track and 'Hello Jeff', a result of the mutual admiration Beck and Clarke held for each other; it was at the time Beck was moving into Jazz and Clarke into Rock.
The album opens with 'Silly Putty', a syncopated funky drumbeat backing the interplay between George Duke, Stanley and the brass section. It's a tune that doesn't quite feel right in parts, but does in the whole.
'Journey to Love' has a fine Jeff Beck solo that whines and growls through a lilting tune with a hidden force.
'Hello Jeff' follows, it's a rock track as played by Jazz musicians. Written as a tribute to Beck, it is a fine piece of music that allows Stanley to lay down some fast licks.
'Song to John' (Parts I and II) straddled the old vinyl and tape sides 1 and 2. Different in tempo and feel, on the CD they seamlessly join, and all the better for it. With Chick Corea, who shares the writing credits, and John McLaughlin, playing with acoustic instruments, the two tracks complement each other perfectly.
'Concerto For Jazz/Rock Orchestra, Parts I to IV' is a mini-masterpiece in the genre (ok, perhaps not mini, it's 15 minutes long). The separate parts allude to the 'concerto', and each is what best defines mid-70's Jazz Rock.
In a genre that can be saturated with fast multi-note breaks that pass as Jazz Rock, this album, from a giant of the art, lays down the guidelines and stamps authority into them.