Stanley Clarke and Friends - Night School
Written by Edward F. Nesta   

Stanley Clarke and Friends - Night School The love of music poured through a star-studded ensemble of musicians creating a memorable evening of music and video on the DVD Stanley Clarke & Friends – Night School.   



Stanley Clarke and Friends - Night School


Stanley Clarke & Friends – Night School       


Night School (DVD): The Floor, Wild Dog, Goodbye Porkpie Hat, Song To John, The Lochs of Dread, Frequent Flyer, Anna Mae, Theme from Boyz ‘N The Hood, Big Jam, Every Day I Have The Blues, Giant Steps, School Days, Bonus track – Why Wait  

Personnel: Stanley Clarke: bass; Amand Sabal-Lecco: bass; Rayford Griffin: drums; Gerry Brown: drums; Mark Stephens: keyboards; Nick Smith: keyboards; Glenn Berger: saxophone; Bob Summers: trumpet; Mike McGuffey: trumpet; Doug Webb: saxophone; Reggie Young: trombone; Bela Fleck: banjo; Karen Briggs: violin; Stewart Copeland: drums; Lenny White: drums; Patrice Rushen: keyboards; Benny Maupin: saxophone; Wallace Roney: trumpet; Michael Thompson: guitar; Paul Jackson Jr.: guitar; Flea: bass; Sheila E: percussion; Rodney Franklin: keyboards; Stevie Wonder: vocals, keyboards; Ndugu Chancier: drums; Bunny Brunel: bass; Alex Al: bass; Billy Sheehan: bass; Steward Hamm: bass; Jimmy Johnson: bass; Wayman Tisdale: bass; Brian Bromberg: bass; Marcus Miller: bass; Dr. Maya Angelou: spoken word 

Stanley Clarke & Friends – Night School released (2007) on the Heads Up label was performed October 2002, and brings together a Who’s Who of musicians for a night of music distinction. The concert was the 3rd Annual Concert for The Scholarship Fund at the Musicians Institute, and Stanley Clarke stated, “Those who have had success in realizing their own vision have a duty to help others in their struggle to emerge.” The ability to bring together this star-studded ensemble is a testament to the respect and love felt for Stanley Clarke, and for the Scholarship Fund. The DVD contains insightful and interesting interviews with many of the performing artists, an extensive and informative profile of Stanley Clarke, an option to play the release in stereo or in 5.1 surround, and a bonus track. 

Night School opens with the track The Floor (written by Stanley) with Stanley center stage on acoustic bass and a full orchestra accompaniment. His ability to pull out every possible chord and note from the acoustic bass not only sets him apart, but it defines the instrument as we know it today; this is the perfect opening track to set the tone. The next two tracks, Wild Dog and Goodbye Porkpie Hat, have Stanley on electric bass with his friends. Wild Dog is double the pleasure with double bass players (Stanley and Amand Sabal-Lecco), double keyboards (Mark Stephens and Nick Smith), and double drums (Gerry Brown and Rayford Griffin); the result is a track that really moves. Goodbye Porkpie Hat takes it down a notch and brings out a full complement of horns in a very soulful track; Stanley’s extraordinary bass playing has you hearing a guitar accompaniment, but it is ‘just’ Stanley. Switching bass instruments, Stanley is back on the acoustic bass for the tracks Song to John, written by Stanley Clarke and Chick Corea, and the track The Lochs of Dread, where he is accompanied by Karen Briggs on violin and Bela Fleck on banjo. Karen blazes across her strings on Song to John, and Stanley is up to the challenge, while on the track The Lochs of Dread, Stanley and Karen try to keep pace with Bela, who co-wrote the song. For the next series of tracks Stanley gets out from behind the bass and in front of the orchestra as he conducts three songs that he wrote, Frequent Flyer, Anna Mae, and Theme from Boyz ‘N The Hood. Though the tracks are abbreviated on the DVD, they are a nice transition between the powerful first and last set of tracks. 

The transition of Stanley continues as he moves back to the electric bass for the track Big Jam, which he wrote. Karen on violin, Stewart Copeland on drums, the Who’s Who horn section, Shelia E on percussion, and Flea on bass accompany him for this spectacular big jam! Back behind the acoustic bass, he welcomes Stevie Wonder for two great tracks, Every Day I Have The Blues and Giant Steps. The tracks are tight and fun with Stevie, Stanley, Karen Briggs on violin, Rodney Franklin on keyboards for Every Day I Have The Blues, and Gerry Brown on drums. Stanley closes out the release with a tour-de-force, the bass player’s anthem – School Days.  Playing his signature slap funk, he rolls through the song and relinquishes control of the bass one-by-one to the army of 10 accompanying bass players, many who use Stanley Clarke techniques. You can see the influence that he has had on not only the bass, but on music itself. 

Do not forget to check out the bonus track Why Wait, which you will find with the Interviews. It is a very poignant track with Dr. Maya Angelou, one of the great voices of contemporary literature, reading poetry, and Stanley accompanying her with the acoustic bass.   

Websites where you can procure Stanley Clarke & Friends – Night School are Heads Up, Amazon, Yahoo,, and CD Universe

© June 2007. Luxury Experience. All rights reserved.