|posted: 6/26/2005 at 11:09:00 PM ET|
Well, after almost thirty years, I finally got the chance to see Stanley Clarke. I was not disappointed. He is touring with Jean Luc- Ponty of Mahavishnu Orchstra fame, and he also played for Frank Zappa. Joining them was the legendary Bela Flek. For those who are unfamiliar with any of these musicians, Stanley Clarke Is a jazz bassist, not just a jazz bassist, but probably one the most accomplished bass players of all time. Jean Luc-Ponty is a jazz violinist, and as Stanley said at the concert last nite, the best jazz violinist there is. Bela Flek plays the banjo, and I've only seen one other banjo player better, and that is Frank Vignola, but that's another story. The show started with a young ukelele player from Hawaii. I can't spell his name, but he was awsome. he made the uke sound like a harp at times. His rendition of While My Guitar Gently Weeps was outstanding. He finger picked and hand strummed nearly everything he played. I'll have to check on line and see if I can find him listed. Now a little about Trio. Stanley's bass work is almost beyond description. He plays with such blistering speed, yet he looks as relaxed as a mother with her newborn infant. He is as dexterous on electric bass as he is on the upright acoustic. It is almost euphoric to watch him play. Jean Luc-Ponty has been with Stanley for a while, and his virtuosity is unmatched. He two, three, and I think even four stringed the violin with such clear crisp precision, not to mention his playing it like a miniature guitar during his solo. His creativity takes the violin to new heights. Bela Flek on the banjo blended so well with the other two that it seemed natural for the banjo to be included in a jazz setting. Who would have thought? That was a first for me, and quite a delightful first at that. Just a little about the setting, and I'll wind this up. The show was at The Mountain Laurel Center for the Performing arts in the Pocono Muontains in Eastern Pa. What a beautiful ampitheatre. My friend and I sat center stage fourteen rows back, close enough to talk to the musicians in a slightly raised voice, and far enough back to enjoy the full visual panorama of the show. It was just a shame to see so few people at such an awsome show. I don't know what the capacity is, but I estimated there were under two thowsand in attendance. This was truly a show which I can compare to no other I've yet seen, and one that will not soon fade from memory.
I am a fragment of my imagination