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  • Bass Transcription of the Week #24: “Rock n’ Roll Jelly”

    Artist:  Stanley Clarke  Album: Modern Man  Bass Player: Stanley Clarke Year of Release: 1978

    View and download the transcription here!

    Thanks for checking out my Bass Transcription of the week blog, where every week I publish and dissect a bass transcription that I have created! This week was a recommendation from Dave Green: the song is “Rock n’ Roll Jelly by Stanley Clarke!

    Note: This transcription is basically a “Best I Can Do” in terms of adapting what is played. Clarke was notorious for overdubbing piccolo bass and all kinds of things on his tracks, and as such this transcription may be exceptionally harder to play than what Clarke originally played. This is my first experience trying to transcribe Clarke’s playing and thus I am an admitted novice. Fair warning!

    The Song: As is common for Stanley Clarke songs, this is one hell of a bass feature! Backed by Jeff Beck and Carmine Appice on guitar and drums respectively, Stanley Clarke and company perform a rocking tune complete with an extended bass solo feature using overdubs and all other sorts of bass madness. Beck and Appice dutifully serve the song with an aggressive style that creates a powerful driving rhythm throughout, complete with dynamic ebbs and flows as are dictated by Clarke.


    The Bass: Stanley Clarke’s bass is the core of the song, playing a chordal pattern that serves as the A section. This pattern moves between the I and bVII chord and also provides a prominent melody. The B sections feature Beck’s guitar with Clarke providing a more typical bass supportive role. Then comes the bass solo; incorporating octave melodies, fast trills for effect, more chordal patterns, lightning fast runs up and down the neck and a powerful devotion to stating the rhythm of the song makes for an enjoyable and compelling listen. Clarke demonstrates his particularly unique voice on the instrument here, and is as much a tour-de-force as any other song in his catalogue.

    Favorite moments: The entire bass feature (letters E through H) for its consistent invention.

    Thanks for checking out this edition of my Bass Transcription of the Week series! Be sure to check back for more updates as well as an entry in my accompanying Bass Cover of the Week series on Youtube! I hope you enjoyed the reading, and happy playing!