13 Songs, 58 Minutes


Ratings and Reviews

4.3 out of 5
33 Ratings

33 Ratings

jjaaccoo ,

Stanley Clarke Return To Form

Innovative bassist Stanley Clarke’s much anticipated solo album is designed with the emotive aspects of war in mind. And it’s a multifaceted brew, spanning tidbits of his work with 70s Return To Forever and even a few components that might elicit notions of The Mahavishnu Orchestra. With an armada of basses on hand, Clarke takes the requisite solo spot within various areas of this disc. But the most exciting element is rooted within the driving, complex exchanges and unison choruses witnessed on the extended and multipart opener titled “The Toys Of Men.” Here, Clarke, violinist Mads Tolling and keyboardist Rusian Sirota engage in high-impact jazz-fusion phrasings amid lushly arranged interludes featuring vocalist Esperanza Spalding, performing on one part.

The leader’s amazing technical acumen is conveyed throughout. In effect, it’s a divergent track mix, where ambient-electronic passages give way to super-funk grooves and somber arco-bass driven movements. It’s an acoustic-electric engagement, but Clarke and company generate some high-heat within the heavier, plugged-in passages. On “Chateauvallon 1972 (dedicated to Tony Willians),” the bassist steers a quartet framework on a song that does indeed seem reminiscent of classic Mahavishnu via a concentrated upsurge within a budding, odd-metered time signature. Here, drummer Ronald Bruner Jr. caps it all off with an electronically phased, polyrhythmic solo. Ultimately, it’s a welcome reentry for Clarke and not of the smooth or contempo-funk jazz variety, which is an art form that he’s frequently delved into during his post-Return To Forever days.

Rachelle Bivins ,

ABYSSJazz Magazine Review

One of the most innovative bass players of all times, Stanley Clarke continues to reestablish the benchmark for the bass, both electric and acoustic. His latest release, The Toys of Men, released worldwide on Heads Up International, October 16, 2007. The dramatic opening song sets the stage for the entire album with its bold and powerful sound provoking emotions from vicious to inspiring, while exuding the passionate and talented musical poetry Clarke has always delivered. The Toys of Men effortlessly tells the stories of war and destruction with a sundry set of songs and is constructed with real cohesion and flow. Clocking in at around 75 minutes, this CD is bursting at the seams, resulting in an extremely eventful journey, recorded in our books of history, time and time again.

FierceLifeNow ,

A New Masterpiece by an Old Master!

The Toys of Men represents a tremendous return to the electryfying projects that elevated Clarke to the top of the Fusion world in the late 70's. Surrounded by tremendous talent (including former Return to Forever bandmate Lenny White) Clarke creates his best work in years. Undeniably Clarkesque, tunes such as Bad A*ses, Chateauvallon 1972, Game and Jerusalem contain all of the signatures that set Stanley apart from the rest of the bass-crowd. The stunning title cut is no less than epic in its scope. I have waited for a long time for another album of this magnitude and impact from arguably the most talented bassist on the planet!