Great Jazz Bassists

Stanley Clarke

Portrait of Stanley Clarke

Stanley Clarke was the first bassist to envision the instrument as a melodic solo instrument rather than as a background performer or participant in a group improvisation. He became the first jazz-fusion bassist in history to tour as a headliner, selling out shows worldwide. He is not only known for his proficiency with the Upright Bass, but has become a Master at the Electric Bass as well. Clarke set the stage for future generations by adapting the style of the upright to the electric instrument.

In the early 1970’s, he joined Chick Corea and formed the band Return to Forever that was to go on and produce nine albums, of which two were certified gold and three earned Grammys, as well as numerous nominations while on tour. They brought the genre of free-form jazz improvisation to the masses.

In the 1980’s, he became one of the top composers in Hollywood, and has over 65 film and television credits to his name, including the Michael Jackson video Remember the Time, directed by John Singleton. To date, he has been involved in over 40 albums, and 60 film scores.

Clarke also toured with such notable performers as Jeff Beck, Keith Richards, Animal Logic, Al Di Meola, Bela Fleck, and the “Superband” of Larry Carlton, Billy Cobham, Najee and Deron Johnson. His musical contribution to the genre of jazz cannot be measured, and will affect the music world for years to come.


  • Children Of Forever (1973, Polydor)
  • Let Me Know You (1982, Epic)
  • East River Drive (1993, Epic EK47489)
  • 1,2 To The Bass (2003, Epic EK 67346)
  • Return To Forever (1972, ECM)
  • Stanley Clarke & Friends (with Larry Carlton, Billy Cobham, Deron Johnson & Najee)

For links to websites with his discography, blog, and library, visit:,, and