Stanley Clarke's The Toys of Men is Stanley at his very best as he channels his passion and emotion into a message of hope, love, and caring.
Stanley Clarke - The Toys of Men
The Toys of Men: The Toys of Men (Part 1 - Draconian, Part 2 - Fear, Part 3 - Chaos, Part 4 - Cosmic Intervention, Part 5 - The Opening of the Gates, Part 6 - God Light), Come on, Jerusalem, Back in the Woods, All Over Again, Hmm Hmm, Bad Asses, Game, La Cancion De Sofia, El Bajo Negro, Broski, Châteauvallon 1972 (dedicated to Tony Williams), Bass Folk Song No. 6
Personnel: Stanley Clarke: Electric Bass, Acoustic Bass, Piccolo Bass, Tenor Bass, Spoken Word; Rusian Sirota: Keyboards, Acoustic Piano, Fender Rhodes, Programming; Mads Tolling: Violin; Esperanza Spalding: Vocals; Jef Lee Johnson: Guitar; Ronald Bruner, Jr.: Drums; Tomer Shtein: Additional Acoustic Guitar; Michael Landau: Acoustic & Electric Guitars; Phil Davis: Keyboards (strings); Paulinho Da Costa: Percussion
The Toys of Men, produced by Stanley Clarke, was released under the Heads Up label. Stanley Clarke's biography is like a book trilogy with additional parts yet to be written. He burst on the music scene in the 70's with his explosive style and soon moved from the background playing with a Who's Who of musicians to be the front man for many exciting and progressive bands (i.e. Return to Forever with Chick Corea and Clarke/Duke Project with George Duke). In between his band projects he produced several solo projects including the release School Days and its title track, which has become the bass anthem and a must learn track for any budding bass player; in addition, he was the first bassist to headline his own tour. Always looking to fuel his creative energy, Stanley has scored numerous movie and television tracks. An in demand musician, he has added versatility and depth to his fiery style by playing across genres with musicians such as Jeff Beck, Keith Richards, Stuart Copeland, Larry Carlton, Billy Cobham, Najee and Deron Johnson, Jean-Luc Ponty, and Al De Meola. The fusion of musical influences, time, personal changes, and his natural creative energy has come together to create The Toys of Men.
Channeling his explosive style into a message while drawing on the many styles and influences he has encountered, Stanley wrote The Toys of Men, which is centered on the current state of affairs around the world - war, but with a vision that the human race will rise above its pettiness and become one. As Stanley so aptly puts it, "When there are disagreements and disputes between countries, people always go back to their toys and how they can use them to intimidate their adversaries," and this, he adds, is a recurring phenomenon of human history. The music tells a story in itself, starting with the title track The Toys of Men, which is an eleven minute track that is broken down in to six parts - Draconian, Fear, Chaos, Cosmic Intervention, The Opening of the Gates, and God Light; with the progression of titles, tempo, and the tone of the music showing that in the end there is hope. The six parts are emotionally charged and will carry you through a feeling of despair and misery, but the track takes a turn after a chaotic interlude and you feel that all things will get better in the world as part 6, God Light, culminates with a crescendo ending. Stanley's canvas is your senses and he artistically captures all the emotions and elements to render a picture of awareness (war) and hope.
The track Come On is about freeing one's self of baggage and letting go to find the positive energy of life; with Stanley's bass, Mads Tolling on violin, and Ronald Bruner, Jr. on drums they cast all feelings to the wind and ride a free flowing positive energy wave of music. Jerusalem takes it down a few beats and the combination of just an acoustic bass, keyboards and guitars forms a beautiful melody that rises above the namesake's turmoil and struggles. Stanley wrote the track La Cancion De Sofia for his wife; the track is a beautiful ballad that projects a feeling of love and caring coming across the strings of Stanley's acoustic bass, it is a subtle but well crafted arrangement.
The Toys of Men takes us back to Stanley's roots as a songwriter and musician though the explosive electric bass has been replaced by a focus of melding sounds, feeling, and attitudes through instruments, tones, and tempos.
Websites where you can procure Stanley Clarke - The Toys of Men are Heads Up, and Artist Direct, Abstract Logix, Silver Platters, HMV, and Yahoo; downloads available at Billboard.
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