Stanley Clarke Visits The GRAMMY Museum

GRAMMY-winning jazz bassist discusses his storied collaboration with Chick Corea, Return Of Forever, and details the making of his 1976 hit "School Days"
  • Photo: Mark Sullivan/
    Stanley Clarke performs at the GRAMMY Museum
  • Photo: Mark Sullivan/
    Stanley Clarke speaks onstage at the GRAMMY Museum
September 16, 2013 -- 5:26 pm PDT

GRAMMY-winning jazz bassist Stanley Clarke recently participated in an installment of the GRAMMY Museum's An Evening With series. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, Clarke discussed teaming with GRAMMY winner Chick Corea to form the jazz-fusion band Return To Forever, and revealed how his first GRAMMY win inspired the 1976 hit "School Days." Stanley also performed a brief set, including the GRAMMY-winning song "No Mystery."

"The GRAMMYs had a lot to do with the song 'School Days'," said Clarke. "I was so happy … that we won a GRAMMY [for 'No Mystery' in 1975]. I'll never forget, I picked up my bass … I wrote the A part, the melody … I went to sleep, woke up in the morning and wrote the B section. … It was just like a burst of excitement."

Born in Philadelphia, Clarke has been a constant force in music since the early '70s. In 1971 he was recruited by Corea to join Return To Forever, releasing classic fusion albums such as 1972's Light As A Feather, 1973's Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy and 1974's Where Have I Known You Before, with the latter two albums cracking the Top 10 on Billboard's Jazz Albums chart. In 1975 Chick Corea And Return To Forever garnered a GRAMMY for Best Jazz Performance By A Group for "No Mystery," which is featured on the 1975 hit album of the same name.

Clarke embarked on a solo career in 1973 with the release of Children Of Forever, which reached No. 39 on the Jazz Albums chart. In 1976 he earned his first GRAMMY nomination as a solo artist for Best Instrumental Arrangement for "Life Is Just A Game," taken from his album School Days, which peaked at No. 39 on the Billboard 200. The Stanley Clarke Band picked up a GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Jazz Album for their self-titled album at the 53rd GRAMMY Awards in 2011. That same year Clarke reunited with Corea and drummer Lenny White for Forever. The album garnered a GRAMMY for Best Jazz Instrumental Album at the 54th GRAMMY Awards, and reached No. 4 on the Jazz Albums chart. In 2012 Clarke teamed with Corea and sax player Kenny Garrett to pay tribute to the late Dave Brubeck with a performance on the 55th GRAMMY telecast.

Clarke is scheduled to kick off a brief tour on Oct. 8 in New York, with dates scheduled through November.                            

Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include The Drop: Berlin (Sept. 17), An Evening With Fall Out Boy (Sept. 24), Reel To Reel: The Rolling Stones Charlie Is My Darling — Ireland 1965 (Oct. 3), and An Evening With Taj Mahal (Oct. 9).

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