Stanley Clarke stretches his muscles and comes up with a mostly impressive, polystylistic, star-studded double album (now on one CD) that gravitates ever closer to the R&B mainstream. Clarke's writing remains strong and his tastes remain unpredictable, veering into rock, electronic music, acoustic jazz, even reggae in tandem with British rocker Jeff Beck. Clarke's excursion into disco, "Just a Feeling," is surprisingly and infectiously successful, thanks to a good bridge and George Duke's galvanizingly funky work on the Yamaha electric grand piano (his finest moment with Clarke by far). The brief "Blues for Mingus," a wry salute from one master bassist to another (Mingus died about six months before this album's release), is a cool acoustic breather for piano trio, and the eloquent Stan Getz can be detected, though nearly buried under the garish vocals and rock-style mix, on "The Streets of Philadelphia."
While still deeply into the R&B/funk thing, Clarke's Time Exposure is a cut or two above its immediate neighbors in quality, thanks mostly to some superior tunesmithing on Clarke's part. The title track is the prize of the set and one of the best funk numbers of Clarke's career, an ingratiating fusion of a riff and a tune that won't quit the memory, set to a vigorous groove and hammered out by rock guitarist Jeff Beck. Even the obviously radio-minded ballad "Heaven Sent You" (a number 21 R&B hit) is a better-than-average bit of R&B writing – and here and elsewhere, Clarke wisely leaves the lead vocals mostly to others.