Someone once wrote that the evolution of a person’s musical tastes was expected go something like this: You start out in pop, then mature and move on to rock, then further mature and move on to jazz, then further mature and wind up at classical.
Perhaps that was the record companies’ expectation.
Perhaps it was an expression of an older generation’s lingering hope that rock would go away.
Regardless, I bought into that notion of musical evolution in the late ’70s, when I flirted with jazz fusion, thinking it was the next thing I would be passionate about. Those were the days of free-form FM radio, so I was introduced to jazz fusion when our station in central Wisconsin occasionally mixed it with rock late at night.
Though our collection here at AM, Then FM is fairly eclectic, there’s not a lot of jazz in it. Though I do enjoy some jazz, I never fully made that leap from rock to jazz, and certainly not the leap from jazz to classical.
I’m not sure what that says about my maturity, but I can live with that.
Today’s cuts come from an album I played a lot back in the late ’70s, trying to seem more sophisticated than I possibly could have been.
Rock met funk met jazz on “School Days,” the 1976 album by bass guitarist Stanley Clarke, and that alone made it worthy of airplay. I’m not knowledgeable enough about jazz to describe it much further. Rock meets funk meets jazz will have to do.
The title cut features a memorable riff, one on par with Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” in that the first three notes drive the whole thing. Raymond Gomez adds some furious lead guitar on the crunchier portions of a tune that goes from hard to soft and back.
Gerry Brown’s drums and Milton Holland’s percussion drive our other cut, “The Dancer,” They lay down a beat that’s been described as “tribal.” Clarke soars over the top of it with a solo on a piccolo bass guitar, as does Gomez on lead and rhythm guitars.
“School Days” and “The Dancer,” Stanley Clarke, from “School Days,” 1976. It appears to be out of print, but is available via download.