The Message

The Message

by Stanley Clarke BandStanley Clarke Band


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The Stanley Clarke Band moniker goes back at least as far as 1985's electro-funk-inflected Find Out!, and picked up in earnest with 2010's eponymously titled The Stanley Clarke Band. The only real through-line, however, is virtuoso bass pioneer Clarke, who leads his ever-evolving bands through what is usually a stylistically varied set of songs that touch upon driving jazz-fusion, funky crossover jams, harmonically nuanced acoustic modal bop, and even forays into classical. It's a cross-pollinated vibe he championed on 2014's Up and one he returns to with conceptual gusto on 2018's expansive The Message. Joining him are pianist Beka Gochiashvili (who previously played on Up), keyboardist Cameron Graves, and drummer Mike Mitchell. Musically, each of these players are compelling in their own right, and make for a dynamic unit. While Clarke doesn't completely grab onto one central theme here, the general tone of The Message is one of reaching for enlightenment in what often seems like a troubling, dystopian world. It's a vibe that's largely intimated in song titles like "The Rugged Truth" and "Alternative Facts," both of which marry propulsively swinging jazz-rock rhythms with sparkling keyboard work. Elsewhere, tracks like the sprawling "After the Cosmic Rain/Dance of the Planetary Prince" and "Combat Continuum," with its spoken-word narrative about a global resistance battle against an invader with "massive unknown technology," evokes '70s prog rock conceits, just as surely as it allegorically implies more contemporary social and political concerns. Clarke also bookends his album with two hip-hop jazz pieces featuring rapper Doug E. Fresh, including a thrilling opening bass and beatbox homage dedicated to a handful of longtime Clarke associates who passed away while he was working on the album, including Al Jarreau, Larry Coryell, Tom Petty, and others. Interestingly, the title track, while aesthetically in keeping with the fusion-influenced tone of the album, finds Clarke stepping away from his bandmates and collaborating on a brightly atmospheric, new age-sounding ballad with synth and sound designer Pat Leonard. Elsewhere, he dips into soulful pop balladry on "Lost in a World" with vocalists Trevor Wesley and Skyeler Kole, displays his adept, classical chops with a lyrical rendition of the "Bach Cello Suite 1 (Prelude)," and draws upon his work with pianist Chick Corea for the far-eyed acoustic jazz ballad "The Legend of Abbas and the Sacred Talisman." Ultimately, with The Message, Clarke's music remains as crisp and inventive as ever.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/29/2018
Label: Mack Avenue
UPC: 0673203111622
catalogNumber: 1116
Rank: 81636

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Stanley Clarke Band   Primary Artist
Mark Isham   Soloist
Michael Thompson   Guitar
Stanley Clarke   Bass,Vocals,Acoustic Bass,Talk Box,Soloist,Group Member
Chris Clarke   Background Vocals
Chuck Findley   Trumpet,French Horn
Doug E. Fresh   Vocals,Beat Box
Ron Stout   Trumpet
Doug Webb   Flute,Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Soloist
Pat Leonard   Synthesizer
Dwayne Benjamin   Trombone
Cameron Graves   Synthesizer,Soloist,Group Member
Salar Nader   Tabla
Trevor Wesley   Vocals
Steve Blum   Vocals
Skyeler Kole   Vocals
Mike Mitchell   Drums,Electronic Drums,Group Member
Sofia Clarke   Spoken Word
Beka Gochiashvili   Synthesizer,Piano,Group Member
Dominique Taplin   Synthesizer

Technical Credits

Johann Sebastian Bach   Composer
Stanley Clarke   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Doug E. Fresh   Composer
Atron Gregory   Executive Producer
Pat Leonard   Sound Design
Maria Ehrenreich   Producer
Roxanne Seeman   Composer
Gerry Brown   Engineer
Cameron Graves   Composer
Jonathan Hakakian   Engineer,overdub engineer
Travis Rogers   Engineer
Bobby Campbell   Engineer
Trevor Wesley   Composer
Steve Blum   Composer
Skyeler Kole   Composer
Mike Mitchell   Composer
Sofia Clarke   Composer
Gretchen Valade   Executive Producer
Beka Gochiashvili   Composer

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