Stanley Clarke "School Days"

Today’s Cool Album of The Day (#655 of the Series) is Stanley Clarke, School Days

We have a large number of musicians in our group. I KNOW they know this one!!

Stanley Clarke was on a roll in 1976 when this was released. Playing bass for Chick Corea’s Return to Forever will do that for you.

He had just released three albums. Children of Forever, Stanley Clarke and Journey to Love had both faired quite well. But School Days was a monster for him.

The title track has been hailed as one of the most influential songs by a lead bassist in jazz fusion. “The Dancer” also got some play.  It’s really too bad that rock radio doesn’t play albums like this any longer. At least most of them don’t. There was a time when Clarke, Return to Forever, Brand X, Jean Luc-Ponty, Shadowfax, Dan Siegel etc would find air-time right along with the popular rock bands of the day. Corporate ownership put a stop to that. I miss the days when stations were privately owned and had a sense of adventure to them.

He had a wonderful band with him at this time as well. Keyboard player David Sancious had just left The E Street Band. George Duke also played keys. Drums: well how about Billy Cobham, Gerry Brown and Steve Gadd.Guitars: Ray Gomez and John McLaughlin.

He headline toured in some great venues in the era. I was lucky enough to see this show at Chicago’s Auditorium theater. Oddly enough, I even remember the opening act. It was The Paul Winter Consort.

–Larry Carta

Track listing

All tracks composed by Stanley Clarke

  1. “School Days” – 7:51
  2. “Quiet Afternoon” – 5:09
  3. “The Dancer” – 5:27
  4. “Desert Song” – 6:56
  5. “Hot Fun” – 2:55
  6. “Life Is Just a Game” – 9:00


  • Stanley Clarke – electric bass guitar, acoustic bass, piccolo bass guitar, acoustic piano, vocals, handbells, gong, chimes, humming, producer, composer
  • Raymond Gomez – electric guitar on “School Days”, “The Dancer”, “Hot Fun”
  • John McLaughlin – acoustic guitar on “Desert Song”
  • Icarus Johnson – electric and acoustic guitars on “Life Is Just a Game”
  • David Sancious – keyboards, Minimoog synthesizer, organ on tracks 1-3, electric guitar on track 5
  • George Duke – keyboards on “Life Is Just a Game”
  • Milt Holland – percussion, congas, triangle on “The Dancer” and “Desert Song”
  • Steve Gadd – drums on “Quiet Afternoon” and “Hot Fun”
  • Billy Cobham – drums, Moog 1500 on “Life Is Just a Game”
  • Gerry Brown – drums, handbells on “School Days” and “The Dancer”

Give it a listen below

Here’s a great live version of the title cut

You just might like these as well..

[jcarousel source=”cat=21″ link=”permalink” size=”100×100″ limit=”100″ items=”4″ speed=”400″ margin=”10″]

Posted by Larry Carta

1 Comment

  1. Bob Graham (29 Dec 2012, 19:57)

    I had the pleasure of working for Stanley as his tech for the entire School Days album rehearsals and recordings in both Los Angeles at A&M Records and at Electric Ladyland in NYC. Really a great watershed moment in Jazz Fusion history and it was an honor to observe from a front row seat!
    The writing and playing on this album is phenomenal. Ken Scot’s engineering and production values meshed perfectly with the vision Stanley had for this work. Everybody got along really well and played great on these tracks. Even when Steve Gadd showed up hours late for the session in NYC he more than made up for it in tasty playing. Charles “Icarus” Johnson struggled a bit in initial rehearsals of “Life is Just a Game” then stayed up all night practicing in his hotel room with headphones. The next day he simply killed it with the outstanding guitar solo he laid down on the track. Every musician on this recording upped their game in the process of making it.

Leave a Reply

Before you post, please prove you are sentient.

what is 7 in addition to 7?