Stanley Clarke

Live (1976-1977)

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AllMusic Review by

After giving Clarke's fans a taste of some live tapes of the School Days band on I Wanna Play for You, Epic waited until 1991 to put another batch of them out, well after it would have been commercially feasible to do so. But no matter, for this CD captures one of Clarke's best electric bands -- maybe his best band, period -- in a number of gigs in the U.S. and U.K., mixing up the jazz, funk, and rock into a high-energy, musically literate brew. A lot of this album recycles then-existing material, but the live conditions add flashes of spontaneity and sometimes considerable interest to jazz fans. Along with the core of Raymond Gomez (guitar), Peter Robinson or David Sancious (keyboards), and Gerry Brown (drums), Clarke used a four-piece horn section to which he gives sophisticated voicings, several solos, and on "The Magician," quasi-Baroque turns. There is a thinly stretched (at times) acoustic cat-and-mouse dialogue between Clarke and Sancious on "Bass Folk Song No. 3," plus, in a departure from the format, an Indian-flavored studio outtake of "Desert Song" (with John McLaughlin) from the School Days sessions.

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