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Stanley Clarke - Children Of Forever CD (album) cover

CHILDREN OF FOREVER

Stanley Clarke

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.29 | 27 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Most music fans on this website will recognize Stanley Clarke for one of two reasons: his excellent contributions to Return to Forever, or his pop-funk solo work, which mostly consists of radio-friendly beats and ballads. This release, Clarke's first solo effort, fits alongside his work with Return to Forever. It's an atmospheric combination of jazz styles and mind-expanding grooves. As a casual fusion fan, Children of Forever entertains me in much the same way as a Return to Forever album does: a '70's jazz diversion that combines just enough energy, art, camp, and soul to make for an enjoyable experience.

The album opens with one of the highlight tracks, moving from cosmic abstract stylings to a ferocious rhythm featuring exciting keyboard work by Corea. Lenny White's drumming is dynamic and busy, but underscored in production which helps give the album a sort of drifting or subtle feel. Both players do a great job throughout, especially during the extended solo passages in "Sea Journey". "Unexpected Days" and "Butterfly Dreams" are not as interesting; they feature the pair of vocalists crooning out abstract lyrics with a very strong lounge-singer style. It adds a heavy element of '70's style that crosses over to camp throughout. I appreciate that Children of Forever is a product of it's time, so the vocals don't ruin the experience, but they probably will for some listeners. The inclusion of flutes throughout the album are another great addition. The entire album has a bright and uplifting feel.

Finally, let's talk about Clarke's bassing. The guy really is one of the greats. On Children of Forever he is playing a combination of electric and acoustic, though the acoustic work definitely stands out. This album is a great showcase of his playing. He is a very busy player, accentuating the album's smooth melodies and underscoring the solo passages. "Bass Folk Song," an instrumental, is probably the highlight of the album and bassing at its finest.

All in all a fine tip-toe into fusion territory for prog fans, standing up nicely alongside the Return to Forever discography.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Prog Leviathan | 3/5 |

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