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Interview:
Legendary Bass Man Keeping Busy
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK



Stanley Clarke is fixed for a busy year.

Not only is the multi-genre bassist touring with his latest quartet, but he has two new releases on the horizon — a DVD, “Night School: An Evening with Stanley Clarke and Friends,” which comes out March 28, and an album of new material that he says will come out in the fall.

Clarke, 55, also has written music for the ABC Family TV series “Lincoln Heights” and recently started scoring an independent fi lm.

“I do so many different kinds of things — that’s what keeps me going,” says Clarke, who’s best known for his tenure in the jazz fusion all-star group Return to Forever and his 1976 solo hit “School Days.”

But, he adds, the variety can pose “a problem when I put bands together. I may get a guy that’s good at this, but if I want to go in that direction, he’s weak there. It’s a challenge.”

Clarke is typically all over the place on “Night School,” which was filmed at his third annual Stanley Clarke Scholarship Concert held in October 2002 in Hollywood. Clarke was joined by a variety of other bassists, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea, and other artists such as Stevie Wonder, Bela Fleck, Sheila E. and Police drummer Stewart Copeland. And while he’s happy the performances are finally seeing the light of day — or DVD, at least — he’s most pleased that it gives him an opportunity to raise more money for the youth music scholarships he funds.

“I just thought it would be nice to give kids a little helping hand,” explains the Philadelphia-born Clarke, who graduated from the Philadelphia Academy of Music. “When I was in music school, we didn’t have money for this or money for that. It just would’ve been nice if there was some sort of something there to supplement us or give us supplemental income.

“It’s a complicated business, and keeps getting more complicated with the Internet and everything. So it’s nice when those of us who have something can help out those who don’t, y’know?”



Stanley Clarke performs at 8 p.m. Saturday (March 3) at the Music Hall Center, 350 Madison Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $39.50-$62. Call (313) 887-8501 or visit www.musichall.org.

Web Site: www.musichall.org

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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