Monday, October 21, 2013

"Sweet Baby" by Stanley Clarke & George Duke

Song#:  0586
Date:  05/02/1981
Debut:  83
Peak:  19
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Pop, R&B, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Both Clarke and Duke were well established stars in the jazz world long before this collaboration. Clarke was an influential bassist noted for his work with Chick Corea's group Return to Forever, and Duke was a session keyboardist/composer who worked with greats like Miles Davis and Frank Zappa. Both dabbled in crossover music, especially R&B, and it created high expectations when they were set to release their first of three "Clarke/Duke Project" albums. This first single release was definitely commercial in nature and it paid off for them with a Top 20 hit (#6 R&B). Their jazz-based fans were not really impressed with their direction, but it make them even more famous and they gained a new audience. This would be their only pop chart entry. The two would continue to work together on two more collaborations, along with working as separate solo artists and session musicians in multiple genres.

ReduxReview:  Here is another example of jazz musicians crossing over to the chart. It was kind of hot at the time and it seemed most any jazz person looking to expand their audience was dabbling in either pop or R&B music. It doesn't always work, but in this case the single was quite nice. It's a lovely slice of AC/R&B that doesn't necessarily highlight the expertise of each musician, but for a couple of jazzy dudes going commercial, this is pretty tasty.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Clarke has gone on to be a prolific composer of film scores and TV music. His works include the films "Boyz n the Hood" and "What's Love Got to Do With It," and the TV show "Pee-Wee's Playhouse" for which he received an Emmy nomination.  2) Their album "The Clarke/Duke Project" would receive a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Duo or Group.


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