Four-time Grammy Award winner Stanley Clarke is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated acoustic and electric bass players in the world. What’s more, he is equally gifted as a recording artist, performer, composer, conductor, arranger, producer and film score composer. A true pioneer in jazz and jazz-fusion, Clarke is particularly known for his ferocious bass dexterity and consummate musicality. Unquestionably, he has attained “living legend” status during his over 40-year career as a bass virtuoso. Clarke’s creativity has been recognized and rewarded in every way imaginable: gold and platinum records, Grammy Awards, Emmy nominations, virtually every readers and critics poll in existence, and more. He was Rolling Stone’s very first Jazzman of the Year and bassist winner of Playboy’s Music Award for ten straight years. Clarke was honored with Bass Player Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award and is a member of Guitar Player Magazine’s “Gallery of Greats.” In 2004 he was featured in Los Angeles Magazine as one of the Top 50 Most Influential People. He was honored with the key to the city of Philadelphia, a Doctorate from Philadelphia’s University of the Arts and put his hands in cement as a 1999 inductee into Hollywood’s “Rock Walk.” In 2011 he was honored with the highly prestigious Miles Davis Award at the Montreal Jazz Festival for his entire body of work. Most recently Clarke won the 2013 and 2014 Downbeat Magazine’s Reader’s and Critic’s Poll for Best Electric Bass Player. In 2011 Clarke won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album, The Stanley Clarke Band, with Ruslan Sirota and Ronald Bruner, Jr., featuring pianist Hiromi. He was also nominated for the “No Mystery” cut as Best Pop Instrumental Performance. The same year Clarke won a Latin Grammy for Best Instrumental Album with Return to Forever’s Forever, along with group members Chick Corea and Lenny White. Forever went on to win him the 2012 Grammy award for Best Instrumental Album. Clarke’s eagerly awaited new CD, The Stanley Clarke Band: UP, was released on Mack Avenue Records September 30, 2014. Entirely produced by Clarke, he considers UP to be the most energetic, fun, rhythmic and upbeat album that he has ever done. Unlike his predominant acoustic bass work on the last few albums, UP is almost equal electric and acoustic bass. It has already garnered rave reviews. Clarke was nominated for a 2015 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Arrangement Instrumental or A Cappella for the song “Last Train to Sanity” from UP. The CD also has garnished him a 2015 NAACP Image Award nomination for Best Jazz Album. Stanley Clarke was barely out of his teens when he exploded into the jazz world in 1971. Fresh out of the Philadelphia Academy of Music, he arrived in New York City and immediately landed jobs with famous bandleaders such as Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson, Pharaoh Saunders, Gil Evans and Stan Getz among others. As a young prodigy he was immediately recognized for his sense of lyricism and melody, which he had distilled from his bass heroes Charles Mingus, Scott LaFaro and others, as well as non-bass players like John Coltrane.
Two time Grammy nominee Bettye LaVette is no mere singer. Bettye is an interpreter of the highest order. Whether the song originated as country, rock, pop, jazz or blues, when she gets through with it, it is pure R&B. She gets inside a song and shapes and twists it to convey all of the emotion that can be wrought from the lyric.
She was born Betty Jo Haskins on January 29,1946, in Muskegon, Michigan. Unlike many of her contemporaries, Bettye did not get her start in the church, but was weaned on the C&W and R&B records of the time that were playing on the juke box in her parents' living room.
In 1962, at the age of 16, she became Bettye LaVette. Her first single was "My Man--He's a Loving Man" on Atlantic Records. The record charted #7 R&B and put her on her first national tour, with Ben E. King, Clyde McPhatter, and other Atlantic stars of the time. She continued recording throughout the 60's, 70's and 80's including stints on Atco, Epic, and Motown.
She worked alongside Charles "Honi" Coles, and Cab Calloway in the Toni Award-winning Broadway musical, "Bubbling Brown Sugar" in the role of Sweet Georgia Brown.
Her "resurgence" in the 21st Century is an amazing tale of perseverance:
• 2004 - Her CD, A Woman Like Me won the W.C. Handy Award for "Comeback Blues Album of the Year". • 2005 - She signed with ANTI- Records and released the critically acclaimed CD, I've Got MY Own Hell To Raise, consisting of songs that were written by women.
• 2006 - She won the prestigious Pioneer Award from The Rhythm & Blues Foundation.
• 2007 - she got together with alt-rock group Drive-By Truckers for the Grammy nominated CD, The Scene of The Crime. • 2008 - She received the Blues Music Award for "Best Contemporary Female Blues Singer". She also performed an unforgettable "Love Reign O'er Me" at The Kennedy Center Honors in a tribute to The Who.
• 2009 - She performed "A Change Is Gonna Come" with Jon Bon Jovi on HBO's telecast of President Barack Obama's kick-off Inaugural concert, "We Are One". • 2010 - Her CD, Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook garnered her a second Grammy nomination.
2012 - Marked her 50th year in show business. It also saw the release of both a new album, Thankful N' Thoughtful (ANTI- Records), and her autobiography, A Woman Like Me (Penguin), written with David Ritz. The book is currently being developed as a feature film by producing partners John Wells ("The West Wing", "ER", etc) and Alicia Keys' company AKW. At President Obama's personal request she also performed at the prestigious annual Fords Theater Gala in Washongton DC.
Bettye is one of very few of her contemporaries who were recording during the birth of soul music in the 60s and is still creating vital recordings today, as opposed to resting on her laurels and recreating sounds of the past.
To quote LaVette: "And still I rise!"