Jazz-fusion bass man Stanley Clarke, fronting a well-oiled band that included a second bassist (Cameroonian Armand Sabal-Lecco), Ruslan Sirota and Lincoln Cleary on keyboards, and 21-year-old drum prodigy Mike Mitchell, delivered an incendiary set to a boisterous house at the Music Box.
Clarke didn’t waste any time, immediately launching into a popping version of the album title track of his 1976 hit School Days, soloing with bruising velocity, quoting from John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme,” and engaging Mitchell into the first of a series of throw-down exchanges.
Next up was a backbeat driven look at Charles Mingus’s “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat,” which capitalized on Clarke’s “chicken-picking” vibrato, harmonics and some rock-star visuals. Switching gears back to the acoustic bass, he brought the house down with the upbeat samba “Brazilian Love Song,” which also featured a long, loose-limbed solo from Mitchell, who really seemed to be his primary accompanist.
The concert zenith was attained on Chick Corea’s intricate “No Mystery,” showcasing some dazzling input from Sirota and an “everything but the kitchen sink” unaccompanied novella from the leader, who quoted from Bach and Gershwin before handing the reins to Mitchell, who seemed to draw equally from John Bonham and Billy Cobham, with a touch of “Philly” Joe Jones tossed in for good measure.
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Following clamorous applause, the band returned to the stage, where Clarke urged everyone to remain standing as they ripped through a deliriously funky reading of “Lopsy Lu,” featuring Sabal-Lecco, who popped, slapped, and thumped with glee.
- Concert: Stanley Clarke
- Seats: First row, center
- Date: September 15
- Venue: Music Box