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STANLEY CLARKE first arrived on the scene in 1971 as a teen prodigy fresh from the Philadelphia Academy of Music. He instantly began working with great bandleaders such as Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson, Pharaoh Sanders, Gil Evans, Stan Getz, and Chick Corea.
His dream of a solo career first manifested itself within the company of Chick Corea, Lenny White, and Al Di Meola in the Grammy award-winning jazz-fusion band Return to Forever. Clarke became the first bassist in history who could double on acoustic and electric bass, as well as the first bassist ever to headline tours, selling out shows worldwide. To this day, accomplished and aspiring bassists continue to imitate his style seeking to master his pioneering percussive slap funk technique.
His long list of notable recording and touring projects includes Keith Richards' New Barbarians, the Clarke/Duke Project with George Duke, The Superband with Larry Carlton, Billy Cobham, Najee & Deron Johnson, and The Rite of Strings with Jean-Luc Ponty and Al Di Meola. His latest solo recording (there are 16 altogether) is 1, 2, to the Bass - a culmination of all his experiences spanning jazz, classical, R&B, pop, and rap.
Grammy and Emmy Award-winning Stanley Clarke was Rolling Stone's very first 'Jazzman of the Year' and Playboy's Music Award - Best Bassist winner for ten straight years. Last year, Clarke was featured in Los Angeles Magazine as one of the Top 50 Most Influential People. Legend is a word that has been associated with Clarke since he was 25, yet he remains unpretentious, preferring simple pleasures in the peaceful canyons where he resides in Los Angeles. For more details and updates visit www.stanleyclarke.com.
Often considered the premier banjo player in the world, B&EACUTE;LA FLECK has virtually reinvented the image and sound of the banjo in a remarkable performing and recording career that has taken him all over the musical map.
A New York City native, Béla picked up the banjo at age 15 after being awed by the bluegrass playing of Flatt & Scruggs. He experimented with bebop in high school and in 1981, he formed the progressive bluegrass band New Grass Revival. He recorded a series of solo albums, including the groundbreaking 1988 album Drive. In the late '80s he also collaborated with Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Edgar Meyer, and Mark O'Connor in an acoustic super group called Strength In Numbers.
Since the group was formed in 1989, Béla Fleck and the Flecktones' garnered major attention, highlighting the interplay of true virtuoso musicians. Their debut of 'blu-bop' (a mix of jazz and bluegrass) became commercially successful, critically acclaimed and award-winning. Their six album releases in the '90s documented their musical evolution.
Fleck made a classical connection with his double Grammy award-winning album Perpetual Motion. Named in 2001 Best Classical Crossover Album by the Recording Academy, Fleck's collaboration with long time friend Edger Meyer segued into the idea of a banjo/bass duo which they developed and refined on tour. Live recordings from that tour are the basis for their latest Sony Classical recording, Music for Two. Fleck has recently completed a personal journey and quest to Africa, where he traced the banjo to its origins for a PBS special.
He has a total Grammy count of nine won, but with over 20 nominations, Fleck holds a record for being nominated in more different categories than anyone in Grammy history. For more details and updates visit www.flecktones.com.
JEAN-LUC PONTY is a pioneer and undisputed master of violin in both jazz and rock. Widely regarded as an innovator, applying unique vision, he continues expanding the vocabulary of modern music.
Ponty was born in a family of classical musicians in Avranches, France. His father taught violin, his mother taught piano. At sixteen, he was admitted to the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, graduating two years later with the institution's highest award. In turn, he was immediately hired by one of the major symphony orchestras. While still a member of the orchestra, Ponty picked up a side gig playing clarinet for a college jazz band. With growing interest in the jazz sounds of Miles Davis and John Coltrane, he was compelled to take up tenor sax, but it wasn't long before Ponty's inner passion pulled him with a veritable need to express his jazz voice through his main instrument, the violin. Soon, he distinguished himself with be-bop era phrasings and a punchy style influenced more by horn players than by anything previously tried on the violin.
When he was 21, Ponty cut his first solo album, Jazz Long Playing. Then a live album called Violin Summit united Ponty on stage with Svend Asmussen, Stephane Grappelli, and Stuff Smith. In '67 John Lewis invited Ponty to perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival in his first American appearance. Soon his signature talents were in demand by top recording artists worldwide.
Collaborations followed with Frank Zappa, Elton John, and John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra. For the next decade Ponty recorded 12 consecutive albums for Atlantic - all reached the Billboard Top 5 on the jazz charts. More recently he joined up with Stanley Clarke and Al Di Meola and with Indian violinist L. Subramaniam. Jean-Luc Ponty continues to evolve his virtuosic musicality, unsurpassed by contemporaries. For more details and updates visit www.ponty.com.