Stanley Clarke: Power





Stanley Clarke (Epic EK 36973)

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Stanley Clarke (bass), Jan Hammer (keyboards), Bill Connors (guitar), Tony Williams (drums).

Composed by Stanley Clarke


Recorded: New York, 1974


Rating: 89/100 (learn more)

Any tune that begins with a Tony Williams drum solo is an important one to listen to. The aptly named "Power," which appeared on Stanley Clarke's second solo release, featured a slice of the veritable who's who of the burgeoning fusion scene. Clarke and guitarist Bill Connors were members of Return to Forever. (Connors was in the process of leaving the band at this time.) Jan Hammer was coming off his historic stint with the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Tony Williams was between Lifetime bands. Clarke's record had a real Return to Forever meets Mahavishnu Orchestra meets Lifetime pedigree going for it.

Williams's solo sets the stage for "Power." At times on the fusion funk number, keyboardist Jan Hammer does sound like RTF's Chick Corea. I don't know if those were purposeful references or just what Clarke wanted. At any rate, Hammer becomes himself soon enough. Clarke and Williams partner-up on a repetitive bassline and rhythm to create a deep groove. Connors plays an outstanding solo. The tune's increasing intensity is ratcheted up even more as Williams kicks into double-time. The satisfying piece ends during ascension just as a Return to Forever jazz-rock anthem would.

This quartet would have made a really good permanent fusion band. I wonder if that was ever contemplated. I'll find out and get back to you.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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