In an era where sports fantasy leagues are all the rage comes a real-life historic teaming that serious music fans and bass players have long dreamed of. SMV unites music titans Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller and Victor Wooten. This unique alliance of three generations of bass gods has been on chat room and fan gathering wish lists for over 15 years, kept alive by periodic statements from all three that schedules permitting they would give it a go. Finally, in October 2007, with Clarke set to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from Bass Player magazine, at its annual Bass Player Live! event in New York City, Miller and Wooten made the time to attend and induct their mentor. The ensuing VSOP jam not only blew the minds of the 900 in attendance, it cemented for the trio their inherent musical chemistry and thus the viability of pursuing the project in earnest. As a result, in January 2008, SMV entered the studio to record a CD and put together a summer/fall tour.
The three recall their first performance and the sessions for their disc. Says Clarke, “The second we started ‘School Days’ at the Bass Player event I knew it was historical for us and the audience. Marcus and Victor are so intuitive, and we each found our range. Marcus was slamming down the groove and Victor started playing these harmonics chords, and I was like, man, this is so bad-ass! When you have that amount of knowledge, respect and love it always creates clarity in the music.” Wooten admits, “To work with Stanley and Marcus has been a dream come true for me. We’ve each brought in tunes for the CD that allow plenty of space and interpretation from the other guys. It’s been pretty funny, with Marcus and I imitating each other and doing our Stanley licks. Best of all, the project is very musical; the bass heroics are there, but people are going to be surprised at how musical it is.” Adds Miller, “That was important; we didn’t want to just have everyone bangin’ away at the bass. In fact, we’ve had to encourage each other to play with more technique at times. The most interesting aspect has been hearing the distinct sound of our basses—which people all know from our albums—side by side. For me, it’s like listening to the history and evolution of the instrument; it’s really amazing.” Clarke sums up, “Considering we’re three guys playing the same instrument, it’s going to be a real revelation for folks. You’ll hear the electric bass in particular with some whole other possibilities. It’s a great new day for the bass.”
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