Stanley Clarke: School Days
Stanley Clarke (electric bass, handbells, vocals)
School Days (Epic 36975)
Composed by Stanley Clarke.
Recorded: New York and Los Angeles, June, 1976
Rating: 89/100 (learn more)
The bass was an optional instrument in early jazz. But in the 1930s and 1940s its importance grew -- especially through the influence of the Kansas City sound and its smooth 4/4 time. The bass was now a key part of the accompaniment -- although bass solos were still as rare as caviar at a juke joint. But with the emergence of fusion in the late 1960s and 1970s, basslines drove the band. Even keyboardists and saxophonists looked to the bass to create the hook and move the audience to its feet. Thus began the age of the superstar electric bassist, with Jaco Pastorius and Stanley Clarke setting the tone. "School Days" was a grand bass anthem -- short on harmonic variety and about as subtle as a SWAT team at the door, but full of energy and boasting a very danceable beat. Clarke is the star here, and hits the mark with one of his most admired and imitated performances. A fusion classic that may be a bit dated, but with a groove that still packs a punch.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia