Clarke signed with Sony in the early 21st century, releasing Find Out and 1, 2, to the Bass before leaving the label. In 2006 he recorded Standards for the independent Kind of Blue imprint, an innovative -- even radical -- live-to-two-track, no-overdub set with drummer Leon "Ndugu" Chancler and pianist Patrice Rushen. In 2007 Clarke released the double album Toys of Men, his debut for Heads Up Records, as well as a live DVD entitled Night School: An Evening with Stanley Clarke & Friends. In 2008 he reunited with Return to Forever for a second time, for an acclaimed tour that produced a live album and DVD. In 2010 he released The Stanley Clarke Band on Heads Up/Concord. The band included Japanese pianist Hiromi, keyboardist Ruslan Sirota, drummer Ronald Bruner, Jr., and a slew of guest performers.
In 2012 Clarke went to Paris, France to participate in a celebration of violinist Jean-Luc Ponty's 50th anniversary as a recording artist. He joined Ponty and guitarist Biréli Lagrène in one of the trios that were part of the evening's festivities. Neither Ponty nor Clarke had played with the guitarist before that evening. The musical conversation proved electrifying for the players and audience. Two years later, the trio entered ICP Studios in Brussels and recorded an album over four days. Entitled D-Stringz, it was released by Impulse! in November of 2015. ~ Scott Yanow & Thom Jurek, Rovi