JZ 35303 Modern Man
Produced by Stanley Clarke
Released on 1978
US CHART POSITION #57 . . . US JAZZ ALBUMS CHART POSITION #4
Find it at GEMM
JZ 35303 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

W hat to make of the bass guitarist who begs off the high-minded supporting role to travel solo? I’ve thought of this lately, noting that bass guitarists tend to be jazzy and funky, two areas where the instrument stands out, while drummers tend to be jazzy and goofy, guitarists fiery and flashy, keyboardists dreamy and sometimes classical. Thus we come to Modern Man, a hominid half-shaped by my own expectations, and my introduction into the world of Stanley Clarke’s solo recordings. Fans of RTF’s proggier moments will be delighted by the “Opening” and “Closing” statements, bookends that herald the coming and going of Modern Man. In between, Clarke slips in several all-bass Interludes that land on the classical side of the equation. These arresting vignettes serve as mere punctuation marks in Modern Man’s musings, tantalizing glimpses into what might have been. If these works represent the high end of Clarke’s achievement, the funk/rock songs that fill the bulk of the album represent the low end. Not that they’re pedestrian efforts; “He Lives On” and “Rock ‘N’ Roll Jelly” are high points here. However, the best of the funk concoctions are farcical (“More Hot Fun”), the worst filler (“Slow Dance”). Unfortunately, these two tracks served as the album’s singles, a concession to funk’s popularity that sells Modern Man short. The backing band is an interesting assortment, drawing equally from jazz/funk and rock quarters. Jeff Beck, Michael Garson (fresh from the Thin White Duke’s employ), Carmine Appice and Jeff ‘Skunk’ Baxter are not names you readily associate with jazz/funk recordings. Garson in particular seems to relish his role, though the synthesizer sounds feel dated today (e.g., the hammy ending to “Dayride”). Compared to the contemporaneous work of Chick Corea, Modern Man can hold its head high. It’s nearly as unpredictable as Mad Hatter and certainly more fun than Secret Agent. I’ll still choose Al DiMeola as the RTF artist of choice for the time being, noting that Modern Man traditionally doesn’t stand as tall in Clarke’s world as his other Nemperor recordings.

JZ 35303 back cover JZ 35303 lyric sleeve
JZ 35303 back cover JZ 35303 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. OPENING (STATEMENT)    4:22
  2. HE LIVES ON (STORY ABOUT THE LAST JOURNEY OF A WARRIOR)    (Michael Mauerer/Stanley Clarke)    4:24
  3. MORE HOT FUN    4:31
  4. SLOW DANCE    3:16
  5. INTERLUDE: A SERIOUS OCCASION    0:21
  6. GOT TO FIND MY OWN PLACE    (Stanley Clarke/Michael Garson/Raymond Gomez/Gerry Brown)    3:17
  7. DAYRIDE    4:06
  8. INTERLUDE: IT'S WHAT SHE DIDN'T SAY    1:24
  9. MODERN MAN    3:31
  10. INTERLUDE: A RELAXED OCCASION    1:24
  11. ROCK 'N' ROLL JELLY    5:07
  12. CLOSING (STATEMENT)    2:37

    All songs written by Stanley Clarke unless noted

CREDITS

STANLEY CLARKE -- Alembic bass, acoustic basses, narration, acoustic piano, piccolo bass, vocals, conductor, arrangements
GERRY BROWN -- drums & percussion
DALE DEVOE -- trombone
MICHAEL GARSON -- Oberheim synthesizer, Moog synthesizer, organ, acoustic piano
RAYMOND GOMEZ -- guitar
AL HARRISON -- trumpets (b-flat and piccolo), flugelhorn
BOBBY MALACH -- tenor sax, flute
JAMES TINSLEY -- trumpets (b-flat and piccolo), flugelhorn
ALFIE WILLIAMS -- soprano sax, baritone sax, flute
Carmine Appice -- drums (11)
Jeff "Skunk" Baxter -- electric guitar, pedal steel guitar, guitar synthesizer
Jeff Beck -- guitar (11)
Dee Dee Bridgewater -- vocals
Ronald Clark, Frank Foster, Cynthia Kovacs, Debra Price, Connie Kupka, Alice Sachs, Steve Scharf, Josef Schoenbrun, Sandy Seymour, Marsha Van Dyke, Kenneth Yerke -- violins
Rollice Dale, Mark Kovacs, Leonard Selic, Barbara Thompson -- violas
Steve Gadd -- cymbals
James Fiducia -- 44-magnum gun (12)
Niles Oliver, Ron Cooper, Jan Kelly, Harry Schultz -- cellos
Jeff Porcaro -- drums & percussion
Charles Veal Jr. -- violin, concert master
Julia Waters -- vocals
Maxine Waters -- vocals
Edward Walsh -- Oberheim programming
Ed E. Thacker -- sound production, engineer
Norman Seeff -- cover photography
Ed Lee -- cover design

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US 1978 Nemperor LP JZ 35303 lyric sleeve
UK 1978 Epic LP EPC 32108  
AUS'L 1978 CBS LP SBP 237158  
CAN 1978 Nemperor LP PZ 35303 lyric sleeve
NET/SPA 1978 Epic LP EPC 82674 lyric sleeve

 

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