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SPN: Jazz - Esperanza Spalding, The Stanley Clarke Band
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Welcome To The Soul-Patrol Newsletter

What Is Jazz?

"If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know."
-- Louis Armstrong

"It's taken me all my life to learn what not to play."
-- Dizzy Gillespie


Although Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie are rather obtuse in their definitions, I am fairly certain that they would both agree that what has been labeled as "smooth jazz," is something that neither of them would play. I suspect that they wouldn't be opposed to other artists playing "smooth jazz" if that is what they wanted to do, but since Jazz is supposed to be "inprovisational," that they would feel that Jazz is by definition more than a single thing and therefore needs to be as diverse as possible and therefore nevr as monotithic as is "smooth jazz," in order to thrive.

We have for you today in the Soul-Patrol Newsletter are two artists, with new releases that I suspect would have a definition of Jazz that is a whole lot closer to what Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie said that it was, then the definition that "smooth jazz" seems to want to provide for us. I realize that many of you have totally given up on Jazz. Now I am going to give you TWO REASONS why you can feel comfortable 'coming back home."

--Esperanza Spalding: "Chamber Music Society"

--The Stanley Clarke Band: "The Stanley Clarke Band"

These are probably the best two Jazz releases that I have heard thus far in 2010. They are both fresh, innovative and although quite different from each other, represent a direction that would be a healthy one for Jazz to take in this century, if indeed it wants to continue to exist at all...

I emcourage you to scroll down, read the reviews, follow the links and learn more about these two outstanding releases....

--Bob Davis
609-351-0154
earthjuice@prodigy.net

Co-Founder www.soul-patrol.com
Blues, Hip Hop and Soul Music Director www.radioio.com


Album Review: Esperanza Spalding - "Chamber Music Society"

Esperanza Spalding - Chamber Music SocietyWARNING: if you have a short attention span for music (ex; you prefer listening to ringtones over albums), click away from this review, you will have zero interest in this music.

Are you the type of person who finds yourself scratching your head when you hear something labeled as "contemporary jazz, " wondering if perhaps like Rip Van Winkle you had fallen asleep, while someone had destroyed the jazz idiom?

Do you ever find yourself wondering whatever happened to the days when someone told you about a new jazz album and upon listening for the first time, realized with some glee that you were going to have to listen again immediately, simply because there was so much going on with the music that you were going to have to listen again?

A few of yall out there might remember the ground breaking 5 disc album called "Crystal Ball," by Prince from 1999? If you remember the first 4 disc's of "Crystal Ball" were self produced and un-released music that Prince had recorded over the years and that most of the hoopla surrounding "Crystal Ball" had to do with the fact that Prince was releasing all of this music via his website, sans record labels, distribution deals, etc. Missed amongst all of that hoopla was any sort of discussion about disc #5 from the "Crystal Ball" album. Well as it turned out Disc # 5 from the "Crystal Ball," an album of brand new music was entitled "The Truth." It was a soft, deep and introspective album that was truly an artistic masterpiece.

I would maintain that the album Esperanza Spalding - "Chamber Music Society," would make a perfect opposite "bookend," for "The Truth" - Prince much in the same manner that "Caravansari" - Santana, makes a perfect "bookend" for "A Love Supreme" - John Coltrane.

In other words not only will you want to play Esperanza Spalding - "Chamber Music Society," right after you listen to it for the very first time, but it is likely that you will want to play this album over hundreds of times and you will probably want to play it at those times in your life when you need to look deep inside of yourself.

Obviously the singing, the songwriting and the instrumentation on Esperanza Spalding - "Chamber Music Society," are suburb. The players include pianist Leo Genovese, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and percussionist Quintino Cinalli. On strings is violinist Entcho Todorov, violist Lois Martin, cellist David Eggar and Gretchen Parlato on voice, with Milton Nascimento making a cameo appearance on the song "Apple Blossom" and of course Esperanza Spalding on bass.

To be BLUNT, this album is a rare work of artistic expressionThe tracks flow together on this album, the way that that "ancient medium" called an album are supposed to. Put your headphones on, get yourself a glass if iced tea and fire up your iPod/CD player at a time when you won't be interrupted and will be able to completely focus on the music. Trust me on this one, because if you try to listen to this album in the background, you will find that you will need to listen to it again. And maybe, just maybe, that isn't such a bad place to be?


1. Little Fly
2. Knowledge Of Good And Evil
3. Really Very Small
4. Chacarera
5. Wild Is The Wind
6. Apple Blossom
7. As A Sprout
8. What A Friend
9. Winter Sun
10. Inútil Paisagem
11. Short And Sweet



--Bob Davis
609-351-0154
earthjuice@prodigy.net

Co-Founder www.soul-patrol.com
Blues, Hip Hop and Soul Music Director www.radioio.com


Album Review: The Stanley Clarke Band - "The Stanley Clarke Band"

The Stanley Clarke Band - The Stanley Clarke BandI'm going to get to this outstanding album, but first I have to tell you all a little story…

It seems like it was during another lifetime ago, I was sitting in a dark room along with several other young men. We were discussing basketball, politics, women and more, as we drank cheap wine as the music played. The music was a kind of electronic jazz that semed to fit in with the conversation. I wasn't really familiar with the music, but I did know that the musicianship was supurb. Then suddenly, as if from nowhere, this song came blasting thru the speakers. I had never heard it before, but it was just about the funkiest song that I have ever heard. I stumbled over towards the turntable and tried to read the track listing as the LP spun around the platter (anyone else ever try to do that???.....LOL) Finally, I could read the name of the song, it was called "EARTH JUICE." It was track #6 of an album called "WHERE HAVE I KNOWN YOU BEFORE" and it was done by an artist that I had never heard of called RETURN TO FOREVER (Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Lenny White & Al DiMeola). Of course I brought the LP the very next day and my life just hasn't been the same since :

Fast forward to 1993, I am now online and a member of the Prodigy Online Service, and the time comes for me to select an email address. For some unknown reason, the word "earthjuice" is the first thing that pops into my head and thus was born the now infamous email address; earthjuice@prodigy.net. Perhaps it has something to do with the residual effects of being in that dark room so many years ago. Nevertheless I have always kept that email address, and my guess is that I always will.

The album "Stanley Clarke Band" is produced by Lenny White and Stanley Clarke and to say that this album is outstanding, would be something of an understatement. To put it bluntly, what they have done on this album is a remakable feat. Not only have they taken the innovative music of "Return To Forever" to the next level, in doing so they have given us a peek into what the next logical evolution of Jazz itself should have been, had not commercial forces destroyed it during the 1980's.

Without stretching the point too far, for those of you who are unfamiliar with their legacy, I think that if I tell you that Return To Forever was something like the 'Sly & the Family Stone of Jazz." That's because much like Sly & the Family Stone combined blues, gospel soul, and rock n' roll, Return To Forever combined classical, jazz, funk and heavy metal. I went to go and see The Stanley Clarke Band perform live in Philadelphia recently, in fact prior to even hearing their album. The concert was completely out of this world. At the concert I ran into my friend Daryl King who runs the Sound of Market record store located in center city Philadelphia. Daryl asked me what I thought of the new album, my response was; "I haven't heard the album yet." His response was; "they just played it live, in front of your eyes." Later after listening to the album, I understood exactly what mah boy Daryl was talking about

You see, the reason I had to tell yall that little story first is because Stanley on bass, along with keyboardist Ruslan Sirota, drummer Ronald Bruner, Jr and pianist Hiromi Uehara, do what for me was previously unthinkable…….THEY SMOKE RETURN TO FOREVER. And for me, that is no small feat!!!

That's right, I Mr. "earthjuice@prodigy.net," perhaps the ultimate Return To Forever fan, is telling you that The Stanley Clarke Band, beats Return To Forever at their own game. However more importantly has potentially opened up the entire genre of jazz up to the possibility of repairing all of the damage that it has done to itself over the course of the past 20 years.

Here is the tracklisting (this album is not for the feint of heart)

1. Soldier
2. Fulani
3. Here's Why Tears Dry
4. I Wanna Play For You Too
5. Bass Folk Song No. 10
6. No Mystery
7. How Is The Weather Up There?
8. Larry Has Traveled 11 Miles And Waited A Lifetime For The Return Of Vishnu's Report
9. Labyrinth
10. Sonny Rollins
11. Bass Folk Song No. 6 (Mo Anam Cara)

(btw…check the song title of song #8 and if you email me and tell me what it means, I'll call you a "true funk soldier?)

A few years ago, Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Lenny White & Al DiMeola did a Return To Forever reunion tour around the country. Apparently someone thought that what Return to Forever fans wanted was an "oldies concert." Whomever thought that was dead wrong. What Return To Forever fans want is to HAVE THEIR MINDS BLOWN. If you are such a person, then owning a copy of the album The Stanley Clarke Band is absolutely essential. Take it from "earthjuice"

--Bob Davis
609-351-0154
earthjuice@prodigy.net

Co-Founder www.soul-patrol.com
Blues, Hip Hop and Soul Music Director www.radioio.com


Concert Review: Stanley Clarke Band (w/Hiromi Uehara) @ Keswick in Philly (6/21/2010)

Concert Review: Stanley Clarke Band (w/Hiromi Uehara) @ Keswick in Philly (6/21/2010)Stanley Clarke Band (w/Hiromi Uehara) @ Keswick in Philly

In the dictionary (online of course), next to the word "concert" they should have a recording of this show playing. This show is the reason we all started going to concerts in the first place. (we go in order to have our minds blown by some amazing sh*t & to leave the venue mumbling to ourselves)

Last night at the Keswick Theater in Philly, the Stanley Clarke Band w/ Stanley Clarke (Bass), Hiromi Uehara (Piano), Ruslan Sirota (keyboardist), Ronald Bruner Jr (drummer) absolutely DESTROYED the Keswick.

Everyone here knows that Return To Forever (Stanley Clarke, Chick Corea, Lenny White, Al DiMeola) was/is one of my favorite groups of all time. I saw them perform live many times, when they were at their peak, back in the 1970's. Hell my email address ("earthjuice") is taken from the name of a Return To Forever song.

Last night's show made me forget that a group called "Return To Forever" had ever even existed. Going to see the Stanley Clarke Band is like going to see Return To Forever on steroids (or something, maybe "space dust.")

Musically it was something like seeing Return To Forever (acoustic/electric virtuoso instrumental playing.)

(only better)
(MUCH BETTER)

Of course Stanley completely OWNS both the electric bass and the acoustic bass. We have had many arguments over the years about who is better; Larry Graham, Victor Wooten, Marcus Miller, Michael Henderson, James Jamerson, Bootsy Collins, Paul McCartney, etc. Maybe it doesn't matter who is better? Maybe it does? However the reality is that after seeing SMV (Stanley Clarke, Victor Wooten & Marcus Miller), it is quite clear who is the best. Please let us not ever have THIS discussion again. Last night Stanley proved it once again (not that he has to) on BOTH electric & acoustic, in a manner that simply can not be described in words.

Watching/hearing virtuoso pianist Hiromi Uehara was like watching/hearing Van Clyburn or Liberace invaded by the spirit of Jerry Lee Lewis/Little Richard inside of the body of a tiny Japanese woman. This tiny woman doesn't just play the piano, she physically attacks it. This woman not only plays like a virtuoso she is entertaining in a way that I have never seen a so called "jazz pianist" before. It's no wonder that she is "featured."

There were points in time during the show when drummer Ronald Bruner Jr sounded like Art Blakely (1962), Buddy Rich (1941), Billy Cobham (1972), Tony Williams (1966). In other words Ronald Bruner Jr will give you the entire history of Jazz drumming during a single concert.

Meanwhile Ruslan Sirota on electric keyboards sounds like Chick Corea on his BEST DAYS.


I didn't know a single song that they played.
It didn't matter...
This was one of the best shows that I have ever attended.
I left the theater literally talking to myself.

All I can really say is that if you are a person who dug "Return To Forever".....

...........(YOU WILL LIKE THE STANLEY CLARKE BAND EVEN MORE)


--Bob Davis
609-351-0154
earthjuice@prodigy.net



CLICK HERE TO GET INTRODUCED TO: Esperanza Spalding - Chamber Music Society



CLICK HERE TO GET INTRODUCED TO: The Stanley Clarke Band - The Stanley Clarke Band


If you have a news item, update, review, commentary, etc that you would like to submit to the Soul-Patrol Newsletter, please send them via email for consideration to:

earthjuice@prodigy.net


Hopefully you enjoyed this edition of the Soul-Patrol Newsletter.
We will be back soon with the next edition, with email alerts for local events, Soul-Patrol website updates/chat sessions or breaking news in between, as required.

If you have any comments, questions, etc feel free to drop me an email and let me know what's on your mind.
Bob Davis
earthjuice@prodigy.net

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