Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Stanley fans should like this DVD
E. Yates | Virginia | 03/30/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If you're a Stanley fan, you'll probably dig this DVD. There are so few video products on the guy, it's nice to see a recent one with this bass legend. He plays acoustic and electric bass tracks on this DVD. There are several tracks with a string orchestra doing pieces from what sounds like his movie score work. If you're a fan of this stuff, you should like these tracks too. There are a lot of big name bass players on this DVD, but most of them only play on one track at the end of the show. Each guy takes a solo which is pretty cool, but it sounds like most of the players rely on bass tricks and don't really make music in the context of the tune. Flea and Jimmy Johnson take really nice (but short) bass solo's with good phrasing, but most of the guys just play really fast w/o much regard for the classic tune they are playing. Billy Sheehan does some pretty crazy stuff, but that's his thing. Good slap and finger style technique is wonderful and important, but most of the guys seem to be relying on their tricks over musicality. There's also just not as much content here as I thought there would be. If you take out the ethereal orchestra tracks and the fact that a lot of the big names only play on one or two tracks (flea plays on two), there's just not a lot of content here. This is mostly why I give the DVD 3 stars. Stevie Wonder does a cool short version of Giant Steps. Stanley is playing upright bass, but it doesn't sound like he's walking through the chord changes; at least not the way Paul Chambers does on the original takes of this tune. It sounds like he hanging on the root chords. Of course, this is probably one of the hardest jazz tunes to play and even Stanley probably has trouble with it. It's pretty wild watching Stevie Wonder jam on it. He's rediculously good at piano. What a musical guy! Duh, right? As I said though, if you're a fan of Stanley, you'll probably dig the DVD. The sound quality is great. Stanley's bass is mixed a bit louder than everyone elses, but I guess that OK since it's his product."
Spotty, but some music falls out
David Bradford | Cary, NC USA | 04/08/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Stanley Clarke's once-firm position among bassists has become ambiguous. Sandwiched by adulation for the lyricism of Jaco Pastorius on one hand and infatuation with the percussion-heavy slap techniques of Marcus Miller and Victor Wooten on the other, Stanley Clarke has been squeezed into a nebulous middle ground.
The problem is that Clarke has proved too eclectic to make his indelible mark either here or there. Not only because of his peripatetic way with the genres--from traditional jazz trio to funk--but because of his divided affinity for the upright and the electric bass.
The music on the DVD "Night School" will do little to better define Clarke as a bassist. His eclecticism on the DVD is as diverse as his entire forty-year canon. But it will do a great deal to reconfirm him as a gifted musician.
In the DVD's finest moment, Clarke reprises his extraordinary version of "Goodbye Porkpie Hat." The tune is one of the finest of Clark's landmark 1980's interpretations, and his performance here is fluid and forceful.
Two numbers with Bela Fleck on banjo and Karen Briggs on violin highlight Clarke as a gifted accompanist who weaves melodic and supportive figures around the flights of his soloists. His dexterity on the upright bass matches Bela Fleck's mastery note-for-note.
One of the most incongruous--and productive--pairings on the CD comes with Clarke sharing the stage with the Red Hot Chili Pepper's Flea. Flea turns in the best supporting performance of the entire show.
The low point of the DVD is an abortive set with Stevie Wonder. Clarke and company struggle to make something of Wonder's stilted and off-canter performance. The groove just is nowhere to be found.
"Night School" suffers from awkward editing and mediocre video, but Clarke overcomes poor production (and some awkwardly configured ensembles) to shine brilliantly.
Still a Bad, Bad Bass Man!....3.5 stars
Jeffrey G. Stevenson | F.W.B.,FL | 05/02/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I finally got a chance to sit down and watch this nice, but all too short, performance. Being a big jazz-rock fan and owning most of Stanley's body of work, I knew the first time I saw this advertised, I HAD to have it. Well, I won't say I was dissapointed, just a little baffled by some of what is contained herein (or not contained!). First of all, many of the songs are incomplete....most notably, the ones with S. Wonder (which is probably fine----NOT the high point of this show by any means). The song "Why Wait" listed as track 5 is nowhere to be found in the main content (though it appears in the bonus feature)....sure would have been nice to see Lenny jammin' with Stanley again! As for "Keepers" in this performance, I would say 'Wild Dog', 'Goodbye Porkpie Hat', 'The Lochs of Dread' and the wonderful 'Song to John' (man, do I love that one!). 'The Floor' and 'Big Jam' were enjoyable as well. My biggest problem lies with Stanley's "staple" song....'School Days'. The idea of Stan-the-Man with 10 other bass players and 3 drummers looked very promising when I ordered this, well I knew this tune would be something of an unrehearsed "jam vehicle", but it almost unravels completely in a few places....if pressed, I would say Stewart Copeland contibuted to some of the chaos by playing some stuff (his style) that simply did NOT fit, i.e. the reggae style beat he tries to place within the song, not to mention his sometimes "spastic" fills and beats. Just for the record, I dig Stewart and the grounbreaking drumming he did with the Police, but he should have sat this one out and let the original 'SD' drummer have it....Gerry Brown. All in all, the song is still enjoyable and all the bass "spanking" by the guests is all in good fun. Highlights as far as players goes to Sheila E. with her great drumset/timbale solo; Flea surprised me with a very melodic solo spot in 'SD', as did Billy Sheehan with his very unique, almost dissonant, approach. Also worth mentioning is Bela Fleck and Karen Briggs....VERY nice interplay on 'John's Song'.
Bottom line: I am satisfied with this purchase, and although somewhat lacking in coherency, its all in good fun, as well as a good cause.....It probably won't be a "mainstay" in my player, but when I need my Stanley fix, I'll definitely reach for this. Enjoy!"
Left me wanting more in a good way
Robert L. Bryan Jr. | wdc | 05/12/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I must admit I am biased towards Stanley, so I was very glad that this dvd was available. There are some great performances here that all of his fans will enjoy. One thing I noticed, was that some of the guest seemed to be a bit intimidated or unsure at times as to what they were supposed to contribute or to just what extent they could go, but I was impressed to see Stanley encourage all the guest to just enjoy the moment and just jam! I thoroughly enjoyed this dvd! I didnt give it a 5 because I am hoping for a follow up which I know will be even better! Highly recommended!"