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Toys of Men

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

Price: CDN$ 19.20 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 35. Details
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Nov. 27 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal Music Canada
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #67,273 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. The Toys Of Men
2. Cosmic Intervention
3. Jerusalem
4. Back In the Woods
5. All Over Again
6. Hmm Hmm
7. Bad Asses
8. Game
9. La Cancion De Sofia
10. El Bajo Negro
11. Broski
12. Chateauvallon 1972 (Dedicated To Tony Williams)
13. Bass Folk Song No. 6

Product Description

Product Description

2007 album from one of the most influential bass-players & jazz musicians of the last 30 years. Esperanza Spalding guests.

It has been somewhat of a frustrating run for fans of uber-bassist Stanley Clarke's legendary, genre-defining '70s work. After establishing himself as the world's premier four-string jazz-rock maestro with his work in Return to Forever and solo albums such as School Days, Clarke altered his focus by churning out middling commercial funk pop and soundtracks. They diluted his status as a talented musician whose fleet-fingered style and elaborate picking technique influenced a generation of bass players. But he's back now, with an anti-war-propelled set that is an encouraging and convincing return to form. The opening 11-minute, six-part suite, featuring fiery fiddle from the intriguingly named Mads Tolling, sounds like prime-era Mahavishnu Orchestra, and also highlights Clarke's frantic yet precise staccato technique on his instrument. It alone is worth the price of this disc, but the remaining dozen tracks emphasize Clarke's intentions to prove he's never lost his touch. He shifts between acoustic and electric settings, inserting stark solo and duo interludes that spotlight his prodigious talent between longer work-outs with his tight group. "Bad Asses," where he is accompanied only by drums, sizzles with thumb-numbing, lightning-hot funk and "Chateauvallon 1972 (Dedicated to Tony Williams)" finds Clarke in fusion territory again working a sizzling, dramatic slow riff as powerful and vital as anything he has done in decades. Long-time admirers now have an album that indisputably proves Stanley Clarke hasn't lost a step as the foremost bass player of his generation. --Hal Horowitz

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Lets make this clear. It is five stars for a Stanley Clarke Cd. For sound, production and composition, I say it is the best he did in is life. I have most of is work. This cd is very energetic, good bass lines and some grooves and feels reminds me off Return to Forever. If you want to get blown away with bass technique, get a Victor Wooten Cd. If you want a better bass CD get M2 by Marcus Miller, if you want a good Stanley Clarke Cd, get this one.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars 16 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Master Raises The Bar Feb. 24 2008
By Mr Peabody - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This may very well be Stanley Clarke's finest album to date. Although the album displays a variety of styles each track is superb. Beginning with the title track which begins with a Fusion feel and eventually transitions into a more traditional Jazz sound. All Over Again is a vocal track written and sang by Esperanza Spalding that is so good it should be given air play. Clarke has a few solo tracks with just him and a Victor Bailey acoustic bass and these are the reasons I say he raises the bar. Two of them are a Blues laiden solo where you can feel the emotion and intensity conveyed by Clarke through his instrument. Another is a Flemingo influenced solo where Clarke explodes toward the end with a frenzy of slaps and chords that had me wondering if I just heard what I thought I did, it was incredible. Another incredible track is just him and the drummer doing an electrifying Funk aruption. Another track which is a more traditional Jazz offering but features Clarke's ability with a bow. The entire album is just a spectacular showcase of Stanley Clarke's virtuoso mastering of the bass guitar. And you can't forget to mention the talented musicians on this album who supports him in this outstanding piece of work. The Toys of Men should become Clarke's new definitive album unseating School Days from i'ts many decades on that throne.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars June 14 2016
By ivana - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Excellent product
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars toys of men = joys in music Feb. 22 2009
By ezyErnie - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
this is such a wonderful, though nowadays altogether too infrequent offering from Stanley Clarke. Welcome and a pure pleasure. If I had any expectations of Stanley, they were met and exceeded. his sound has expanded over the years and that is a great sign that he has not sat and atrophied in his long period since his last album. I ordered and enjoyed this as soon as a sample hit my ears in a store.

It was a totally excellent choice along with S.M.V. If they were vinyl, I'd be wearing out the grooves enjoying myself.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stanley at his best Aug. 18 2009
By W. Noshie - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Stanley puts all his talent and heart in this album. Just listen to the first song and you can tell where SC come from. When someone is able to come up with and 11 minutes song combining the sound of Jazz, soul and Classical, topped with a solo bass as a finale, only then you will discover where Stanley Clarke comes from.
If you are a Stanley Clarke fan, "Toys of men" probably rates among his best work so far; if you are new to SC's sound, then you can't go wrong buying this album.
Highly recommended by an old fan
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid, balanced, and diverse effort. Oct. 17 2007
By Michael Stack - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Bassist Stanley Clarke's solo career has been notoriously inconsistent-- with lucrative film scoring consuming much of his time and a tendency towards (not necessarily bad) smooth jazz sounds, his works can be frustrating and it can feel as though the jaw-dropping virtuoso performances he brings don't quite get matched. So with each new record, it's always a question-- r&b-laced smooth jazz or funk fusion? In the case of "The Toys of Men", it seems to be something entirely different, an unusual mix between fusion and acoustic jazz and one of the more satisfying albums in Clarke's catalog.

Performed by a core quintet featuring Clarke on any number of basses, Ruslan Sirota on keyboards, Mads Tolling on violin, Jef Lee Johnson on guitar and Ronald Bruner, Jr. behind the drum kit, with guest spots by vocalist Esperanza Spalding, guitaristts Tomer Shtein and Michael Landau, keyboardist Phil Davis and percussionist Paulinho da Costa, the album finds an unusual mix of electric and acoustic. A good example is the opening extended title suite-- it opens sounding like it takes a page out of the Mahavishnu Orchestra book, chugging fusion driven by a superb, rolling bass line from Clarke and a frantic statemetn by Tolling. But once you get comfortable with it, it gives way to a gentle acoustic passage, featuring a building melody and wordless vocals by Spalding and closes with a gentle, hopeful, upper register electric bass solo over a gentle piano and drum accompaniment. In fact, while Clarke has shown more virtuoso performances over the years, I dare say this is his most sensitive, emotive and in many ways powerful playing.

The remainder of the album is a mix of different sounds, split between ensemble pieces (where Clarke often plays an acoustic bass guitar) and brief solo acoustic bass (violin) performances. The ensemble pieces are a nice mix, from a pair of superb fusion workouts with absolutely staggering slap bass workouts that could have been lifted straight off of School Days in "Come On" and "Bad *sses" (the latter in particular, as a duet between Clarke and drummer Bruner, provides an opportunity for some serious pyrotechnics) to gentler, more lyrical pieces ("Jerusalem", featuring some fantastic acoustic bass guitar performance from Clarke, the achingly beautiful ensemble piece "La Cancion de Sofia", featuring a simply lovely arco melody statement from Clarke on upright). Along the way, Clarke also drifts into deep funk ("Game", with another jaw-dropping slap bass performance), a pleasant-but-not-terribly-exciting smooth jazz piece (Spalding vocal feature "All Over Again") and a tribute to drummer Tony Williams in the loping drum feature "Chateauvallon 1972".

The bass violin solo pieces are generally all of the same form-- brief, pizzicato performances that provide Clarke an opportunity to show a side of himself that has been fairly recessed in term of considering his legacy. He shows a fairly extensive technique (the extended "El Bajo Negro" is the best example of this), a well developed woody tone, and a propensity for percussive attacks (as illustrated on "Back in the Woods"). Closer "Bass Folk Song No. 6" breaks the pattern by being gentle and lyrical and probably the most satisfying of the five solo upright performances.

For some reason, I keep thinking that "The Toys of Men" is one of those records that I'll end up sticking up on a shelf and not listening to, but I can't put my finger on why. It's a consistently satisfying, engaging and entertaining record, and since I'm really enjoying it.

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