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Stanley Clarke

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Biography

Clarke was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Having graduated from the Philadelphia Musical Academy, he moved to New York City in 1971 and began working with famous bandleaders and musicians including Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson, Pharoah Sanders, Gil Evans, Stan Getz and Al Di Meola.

Return to Forever
During this period he joined the fusion group Return to Forever led by pianist Chick Corea. The group became one of the most important fusion groups and released several successful and musically highly varied albums. Clarke also started his solo career in the early 1970s and released a number of albums under his own name. His most famous album is School Days (1976), which along with Jaco Pastorius’s self-titled debut is held up as one of the greatest bass albums in the history of Jazz Fusion.

His albums Stanley Clarke (1974) and Journey to Love (1975) are also notable.

Style
Clarke’s electric bass style is a combination of many factors.

Equipment - Clarke has always been very strongly associated with Alembic basses and the vast majority of his recorded output has been produced with one model of Alembic or another, particularly a dark-wood-colored custom bass in the Series I body style. These basses are handmade neck-through instruments made from a mixture of exotic woods and a proprietary active pickup system that is powered from an external preamplifier. Clarke also utilizes full-range amplification for his basses, more in keeping with a keyboardist’s rig than a bassist’s or guitarists.

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