"There’s no way I would pass on the chance to present this award to Stanley Clarke, a man who has changed the lives of so many musicians, created opportunities for all of us bassists, and been a huge influence on me and my playing," said Wooten on being asked to give the award. "Presenting Stanley Clarke with a Lifetime Achievement Award is a dream come true."
Wooten continued, "Scoring movies, making recordings, and touring the world, Stanley Clarke has paved the way for all of us by spreading low-end love all over. To me, that is what a Lifetime Achievement Award is all about. It’s not just what you’ve done with your life, but also what you’ve done to help others improve their lives. I believe that Stanley has done more than he realizes in that regard.
"Stanley Clarke is a man of "firsts." He became the first bassist in history who could double on acoustic and electric bass with equal ferocity, as well as the first bassist ever to headline tours, selling out shows worldwide. Clarke recorded what is now considered to be the must-know bass anthem, "School Days." To this day, accomplished and aspiring bassists continue to imitate his style seeking to master his pioneered techniques.
Clarke was a teen music prodigy. In 1971 the jazz world immediately recognized the dexterity and complete musicality Clarke possessed when he first arrived on the scene from the Philadelphia Academy of Music. Clarke pushed himself towards perfection with relentless attention to be the best. His efforts catapulted him to the front of the stage as a viable melodic bass soloist where his dream manifested first in the Grammy Award Winning jazz-fusion band Return to Forever. RTF recorded eight albums, two of which were certified gold (Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy and Romantic Warrior), won a Grammy award for No Mystery.
Although Clarke is considered one of the pioneers of jazz fusion, he has recorded and/or toured with musicians of various genres beyond the world of jazz. Some of these collaborations include Jeff Beck, Keith Richards and Ron Woods, Paul McCartney, Quincy Jones, Carlos Santana, Bela Fleck, Stan Getz, Natalie Cole, Aretha Franklin and Herbie Hancock.
Grammy and Emmy Award winning Stanley Clarke was Rolling Stone’s very first "Jazzman of the Year," was Playboy’s Music Award - Best Bassist winner for 10 straight years and is a member of Guitar Player Magazine’s "Gallery of Greats." He was honored with the key to the city of Philadelphia and put his hands in cement as a 1999 inductee into Hollywood’s "Rock Walk" on Sunset Boulevard. Clarke has won every Reader’s Poll and Critic’s Poll out there. In 2004 he was featured in Los Angeles Magazine as one of the Top 50 Most Influential People.
On finding he was to be recipient of this very special Bass Player Lifetime Achievement Award, Clarke said, "I am very humbled to be the recipient of this award. I've watched the bass community grow over the years into a very powerful force in music. When I started, there were only a handful of albums with bass players as leaders. Now there are literally thousands. The instrument is no longer in the background and has truly been liberated. Having been there with Bass Player Magazine since the beginning, it is great to see what it has turned into, and it is a true honor for me to receive this."
Victor Wooten sums up Clarke’s ongoing career best when he said, "The best part of all is that Stanley Clarke is not finished. With all the wonderful and amazing things he has already done, I believe that the best it yet to come."
Photo Caption: Funk and jazz bass superstar Marcus Miller (l), Bass Player Magazine Editor Bill Leigh and solo artist and Flecktones renowned bassist Victor Wooten (r) present Stanley Clarke with the Bass Player Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2006 Bass Player LIVE! weekend bass conference at the Millennium Broadway Hotel in New York City.