Bassist Stanley Clarke nearly set the world on fire via his amazing technical prowess as a member of Chick Corea’s ‘70s, "Return to Forever" jazz-fusion unit. Then of course, Jaco Pastorius’ debut with "Weather Report," reaffirmed a new-wave type expansion and style of jazz-tinged bass fare. Fast forward three decades amid Clarke’s multifarious and distinguished career, this star-studded jazz gala professes the artist’s emphasis on education. The DVD culminates the record label’s affiliation with Clarke’s "Roxboro Entertainment Group," chronicling the third annual "Stanley Clarke Scholarship Concert," recorded at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA. Therefore, the Night School motif serves as a mini-clinic of sounds and styles, marked by the musicians’ jubilantly expressed entertainment factors.
Multicolored lighting offers an effective balance of pans and zooms that accentuate the shades and tones of the variable musical collaborations. Clarke’s meticulous and often-blazing lines are tempered with harmonically attractive acoustic and electric bass performances. He aligns with an orchestral unit for a beautiful rendering of "Song for John," where violinist Karen Briggs and plugged-in banjo superstar Bela Fleck coalesce for spiraling melodies and tightly interwoven unison lines. In other spots, drummer Stewart Copeland revisits the Ska pulses made famous during his tenure with pop icons, The Police. Elsewhere, Stevie Wonder playfully changes vocal octaves on the rollicking "Every Day I Have The Blues," intertwined with the ensemble’s spicy take on John Coltrane’s "Giant Steps."
Clarke’s heralded piece "School Days," serves as a grand forum for a bass summit, performed by three drummers, two keyboardists and eleven influential bassists. It’s a massive blowout, where Brian Bromberg solos with electric guitar type EFX to complement Marcus Miller’s slapping bass lines and the other bassists stirring and upbeat forays. Hence, Clarke and associates finalize the night on an irrefutable high-note. (Recommended.... )