WCSU

Artist Profiles - Bassist Stanley Clarke

Stanley Clarke is a jazz musician and composer known for his innovative and influential work on double bass and bass guitar as well as for his numerous film and television scores. He is best known for his work with the fusion band Return to Forever.

Clarke was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in June, 1951. He was introduced to the bass as a schoolboy. He is a graduate of Roxborough High School in Philadelphia. Having graduated from the Philadelphia Musical Academy. During the 1970's he joined the jazz fusion group Return to Forever led by pianist and synth player Chick Corea. The group became one of the most important fusion groups and released several albums that achieved both mainstream popularity and plaudits from critics.

Clarke also started his solo career in the early 1970s and released a number of albums under his own name. His well-known solo album is School Days (1976). His albums Stanley Clarke (1974) and Journey to Love (1975) are also notable. Clarke is also known for his unique style of playing the upright bass with his fingers partially hooked underneath the strings so when released, the strings snap against the frets, producing a unique sound.

Clarke spent most of the 1980s focusing on television and film scores. Some of Clarke's most well-known pieces of work include scores for “A Man Called Hawk,” “Boyz n the Hood,” “What's Love Got to Do with It,” “Passenger 57,” “Higher Learning,” “Poetic Justice,” “The Five Heartbeats,” and “Romeo Must Die.”

Clarke has also collaborated with artists such as George Duke, Larry Carlton,  Billy Cobham & Najee. In 2006 saw Clarke team up with George Duke for a 40-city tour of festivals and performing arts centers, in addition to be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from Bass Player Magazine for his contribution to music.