Classic Rock Review

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Stanley Clarke Journey To Love (1975)


This is going to sound sort of funny since I’m saying that Journey to Love is an essential work, but there are songs on this release that aren’t all that great. Concerto for Jazz, which is over 14 minutes long, is kind of uneven in quality, even if it is ambitious in scope.

I find the title track charming, in an airy-fairy kind of 70s way, but I could see where some people might be annoyed by the whispy vocals by Stanley Clarke and the dated synthesizer work. Silly Putty, the opening track, is fun and funky, with Clarke’s slap happy bass work and cheerful horn section, but there’s that synthesizer again.

In fact, a good half of this release is smothered in a thick layer of 70s cheese. Now, that doesn’t really bother me, but it might bother a lot of people.

Where Journey to Love really redeems itself in a big way is with Stanley Clarke’s tributes to two musicians he obviously admires: John Coltrane and Jeff Beck.

Song to John Part 1, as played by the trio of Clarke on upright bass, Return to Forever bandmate Chick Corea on piano, and John McLaughlin on guitar, is a rubato wonder–it’s just rapturously beautiful. Song to John Part 2, uses the exact same theme, but now played as a sprightly jazz samba, with each member of the trio taking gorgeous, fleet-fingered solos.

The tribute to Jeff Beck, Hello Jeff, is Clarke’s version of rock, which has a healthy component of R&B to it. Jeff Beck just kills in this. He gets this monster tone here that he never duplicated anywhere else and his solo completely rocks. It’s just exhilarating beyond words.

And that’s really the story here. The highs are so high that they push this release up to classic status, in spite of its very real flaws.

In fact, you might just want to pick up some mp3s instead of springing for the whole CD.

March 17, 2013 Posted by | Stanley Clarke Journey To Love | | Leave a comment