Legendary Bassist Stanley Clarke Honored With National Endowment for the Arts’ 2022 Jazz Masters Fellowship

Legendary Bassist Stanley Clarke awarded 2022 NEA Jazz Master Fellowship.

Awards such as this NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship makes me remember and appreciate all the work I’ve done over my career. It is an honor to now be included among such an elite group of past fellowship winners.

Legendary bassist Stanley Clarke has been selected as a 2022 recipient National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Fellowship. The fellowship is the highest honor that the United States bestows on jazz artists. Clarke’s fellow honorees for next year are saxophonist Donald Harrison Jr., drummer Billy Hart and vocalist Cassandra Wilson.

“It’s an honor to be chosen as a 2022 NEA Jazz Master along with its generous fellowship in commemoration of my long career in jazz as a recording artist, performer, composer, conductor, arranger, producer and film score composer,” stated Clarke. “It is a tribute to now be included among such an elite group of past fellowship winners.”

Since 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded a select group of 165 fellowships to great figures in jazz. Clarke and the other recipients will receive a substantial monetary award and will be formally honored at a special ceremony and concert held in collaboration with and produced by SFJAZZ on March 21, 2022, at the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco, CA.

Regarding the announcement of Clarke as a recipient, Jon W. Poses, Columbia Daily Tribune, wrote, “Stanley Clarke stands as one of the most facile, technically brilliant instrumentalists in modern jazz.”

It’s no wonder that Philadelphian Clarke was selected for NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship. With unparalleled skill he is a master in electric bass and acoustic bass jazz. Clarke led the “bass revolution” of the ’70s, bringing the instrument to the height of respectability and paving the way for its use by soloists. He envisioned the bass as a viable, melodic solo instrument positioned at the front of the stage rather than in a background. Clarke is the first bassist to headline international tours. He is the recipient of 4 Grammy Awards and 13 nominations. He is still actively touring, composing and recording.

Always in search of new goals, Clarke turned his boundless creative energy to film and television scoring in the mid-1980s. He has become one of the elite in-demand composers in Hollywood scoring over 75 projects including Boys N the Hood, What’s Love Got to Do With It and The Transporter among so many others.

Music education is a passion for Clarke. He and his wife Sofia established The Stanley Clarke Foundation seventeen years ago offering scholarships to talented young musicians. Clarke strongly feels that those who have succeeded in realizing their own vision have a duty to help others.

Over the pandemic isolation, Clarke been able to see one of his ambitions come to fruition by developing a web series entitled Stanley Clarke’s Bass Nation. It represents his effort to share the wealth of experience he has garnered. The series has earned a substantial number of rave reviews from its 100K-plus viewers.

Other honors received by Clarke include the Miles Davis Award for his entire body of work, numerous Downbeat Reader’s and Critic’s Poll “Best Electric Bass Player” wins, Bass Player Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award, membership in Guitar Player Magazine’s “Gallery of Greats,” and an honorary doctorate from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He is an invited member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. In 2016 Clarke became a part of the permanent collection displayed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington DC.

The NEA Jazz Masters ceremony and concert is free and open to the public. An “on-sale” ticket date will be announced, limited to two per person. More specific information on tickets and online live streaming options will be available on the NEA website in early 2022.

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