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Stanley Clarke tune


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by Lucas Pickford

Before Victor Wooten, before Marcus Miller, and yes before Flea, there was one god of the funk bass and that was Stanley Clarke. Inspired by Larry Graham’s ground breaking innovation with the thumb, Stanley took the technique to a whole new level in the early seventies and inspired a generation of funakteers from Mark King to Jonas Hellborg and a lot of people in between. But before Stan picked up the electric and the request of Chick Corea, he was a phenom on the acoustic bass. Having studied classically in Philadelphia for several years Stanley possessed amazing chops and faultless time. He cut his teeth playing jazz with legends like Joe Henderson Dexter Gordon, Gil Evans, and a young Chick Corea. When Chick formed his seminal fusion juggernaut Return To Forever, he tapped Clarke to be his bass player. Stanley, Chick, Al DiMeola, and Lenny White shook the world as Return To Forever for five years. There were other members of the band, briefly, like Flora Purim, Airto, and drummer Steve Gadd. " But Steve’s wife wouldn’t let him go out on the road. That’s when we got Lenny." The "quartet" version of the band remains the most famous. Stanley recorded many solo albums throughout the 70’s and 80’s including his classic “School Days” and the album this transcription is from “Journey To Love”.

This song is dedicated to jazz legend John Coltrane and is a masterpiece of simple harmony but complex unison lines. The original version features Chick Corea on piano and John McLaughlin on acoustic guitar. A more recent version is on an album called The Rite of Strings featuring Al DiMeola and Jean Luc Ponty. Stanley along with Jaco were the godfathers of modern funk/jazz/and fusion bass. I offer this transcription as a humble homage to those two great masters. Enjoy.  

Thanks to Chrys Legros for helping with the chart.  You can thank him too.  Thank you, too.


Lucas Pickford's new CD, Blown Fuse, is now available from his site.

You can also read the Global Bass review of Blown Fuse, and buy it through BassStuff Online.

Lucas Pickford can be reached via e-mail at 
and at his web site





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