9 Songs, 36 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Released at a time when artists like Herbie Hancock were starting to blur the lines between jazz, funk, rock, and the emerging style of hip-hop, this 1981 collaboration from Stanley Clarke and George Duke exemplifies a period of intense cross-pollination. Led by “Sweet Baby”—an effortless pop confection that became a surprise Top 20 hit—The Clarke/Duke Project is a concise display from two musicians best known for expansive solos. In its mixture of tuneful funk (“I Just Want to Love You,” “Let’s Get Started”) and playful rock (“Louie, Louie,” “Winners,” “Finding My Way”), the album adopts the vision of new wave funk that Prince had introduced the previous year with Dirty Mind. While Prince may have had better songwriting chops, Clarke and Duke had musical training that elevated even the simplest pop tunes. While these two jazz veterans succeeded in cracking the code for pop success, the album’s centerpiece is the beautifully idiosyncratic “Never Judge a Cover by Its Book,” which belongs to a long tradition of trippy Duke instrumentals.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Released at a time when artists like Herbie Hancock were starting to blur the lines between jazz, funk, rock, and the emerging style of hip-hop, this 1981 collaboration from Stanley Clarke and George Duke exemplifies a period of intense cross-pollination. Led by “Sweet Baby”—an effortless pop confection that became a surprise Top 20 hit—The Clarke/Duke Project is a concise display from two musicians best known for expansive solos. In its mixture of tuneful funk (“I Just Want to Love You,” “Let’s Get Started”) and playful rock (“Louie, Louie,” “Winners,” “Finding My Way”), the album adopts the vision of new wave funk that Prince had introduced the previous year with Dirty Mind. While Prince may have had better songwriting chops, Clarke and Duke had musical training that elevated even the simplest pop tunes. While these two jazz veterans succeeded in cracking the code for pop success, the album’s centerpiece is the beautifully idiosyncratic “Never Judge a Cover by Its Book,” which belongs to a long tradition of trippy Duke instrumentals.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.6 out of 5
16 Ratings

16 Ratings

aunbound ,

Favorite Clarke/Duke Album

This is my favorite album, with most songs appealing to your jazzy mood. I believe "Sweet Baby" became a hit here. This is one of the better jazz collaboration albums I've heard.

DanThaMan19 ,

COOOL

This album is smoothe, cool, and guarenteed to set you dancin'.

Downwind ,

Project II

A good album, but Project II is better,...where is it ?

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