Stanley Clarke: Hello Jeff
Stanley Clarke (bass, organ)
Journey to Love (Epic EK 36974)
Composed by Stanley Clarke.
Recorded: New York, 1975
Rating: 92/100 (learn more)
Jazz fusion received quite a boost when rock star guitarist Jeff Beck decided to enter the fray. Though Beck was not a composer, his stylish and engaging performances of fusion numbers written by Jan Hammer, Max Middleton and Narada Michael Walden, among others, brought more rock fans to the jazz-rock party. His getting together for this cut with Clarke and White, two members from the supergroup Return to Forever, was quite an event.
As evidenced by the song's title, Clarke really knew who he was writing for. "Hello Jeff" is drenched in Beck's guitar persona. His inimitable style makes him the owner of one of the most famous riffs Clarke has ever written. Rhythm section Clarke and White are highly paid and highly effective support players on the tune. The very accessible "Hello Jeff" could have easily fit onto Beck's mega-hit Wired without anyone batting an eye. Clarke's ability to write this type of hook-laden song kept him in the popular fusion spotlight for quite a few years.
As I write these words, Beck, Clarke and White have been revisiting fusion music. This is very welcome. I would not be surprised if they recorded again. Wishful thinking perhaps, but music this good needs to be further explored.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky