1, 2, to the Bass
Stanley Clarke's first solo CD in over a decade, 1, 2, to the Bass (Sony/Epic), is an expansive offering that reflects the many dimensions of the renowned bassist-producer-film composer's artistry. The title track, a jazz-hip-hop hybrid, features rapper Q-Tip on hypnotic vocals, while "Anna (She Loves the Good Life)" grooves along, punctuated by horns and shaded by strings. Clarke's cover of Graham Central Station's "Hair" is a ferocious funk-rock jam, and Clarke unleashes his bass wizardry on the urban-flavored "'Bout the Bass" and the breathtaking live solo performance "Touch." By far the most touching track on the album is "I Shall Not Be Moved," a tune coproduced by Quincy Jones, which finds Oprah Winfrey delivering a dramatic and deeply felt reading of Maya Angelou's famous poem, accompanied by cinematic strings and Clarke's pensive plucked bass. It's a performance you will not soon forget, and Clarke follows it with "Shanti/Peace/ Paz/Shal," a Middle Eastern-inflected composition featuring eloquent interplay between Clarke's bass and L. Subramaniam's violin that closes the album on a mournfully beautiful note.