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Sat, 06.30.1951

Stanley Clarke, Bassist born

Stanley Clarke

*Stanley Clarke was born on this date in 1951.  He is a Black musician, composer, and producer known for his innovative and influential work on double bass and bass guitar. 

Clarke was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was introduced to the bass as a schoolboy "by accident" when he arrived late on the day instruments were distributed to students, and acoustic bass was among the few remaining selections. Having graduated from the Philadelphia Academy of Music, he moved to New York City in 1971. He began working with bandleaders and musicians, including Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Dexter Gordon, Gato Barbieri, Joe Henderson, Chick Corea, Pharoah Sanders, Gil Evans, and Stan Getz.  During this period, he joined the jazz-fusion group Return to Forever. 

Clarke also started his solo career in the early 1970s and released several albums under his name; Stanley Clarke (1974) and Journey to Love (1975), and School Days (1976).  Since the 80s, Clarke has been turning his energy to film and television scoring. He scored the ABC Family Channel series “Lincoln Heights” and wrote the theme song.  Clarke was nominated for an Emmy for his TV score for “Pee Wee's Playhouse,” “Hull High” and “Knightwatch.” He won the BMI Film Music Award for the film Boyz ‘n the Hood.  Other films he was involved with are What's Love Got To Do With It?, Passenger 57, Poetic Justice, Little Big League, Romeo Must Die, The Transporter, Undercover Brother, Roll Bounce, and the Showtime series Soul Food. Altogether Clarke has over 65 film credits. 

In 1995 he released Stanley Clarke at the Movies and is putting together a second compilation of his film scores, Stanley Clarke at the Movies: Two.  Clarke was Rolling Stone's first “Jazzman of the Year,” Playboys Music Award - Best Bassist winner for ten straight years, and is a member of Guitar Player magazine's “Gallery of Greats.” He was honored with the key to the city of Philadelphia and put his hands in cement as a 1999 inductee into Hollywood's “Rock Walk.”  In October 2006, Clarke was honored with Bass Player magazine's Lifetime Achievement Award.  Earlier that year, BET-J launched a series hosted by Clarke entitled, On the Road with Stanley Clarke in June 2006. The series consists of seven episodes titled: “Origins of Black Music,” “That Philly Sound,” “Jazz Beyond the Classroom,” “Black Music in Film, Television & Theatre,” “Jazz,” “Black Music in Film – The Next Generation” and “Bass to Bass.” 

 In 2008, Clarke was presented with a Doctorate in Fine Arts from his alma mater, the University of the Arts.  He has three children, Chris and two stepchildren, Natasha and Frank.  His latest score composition work was for the documentary film Halston (2019).  The film tells the extraordinary story of the life and death of the American fashion designer Roy Halston Frowick.  

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