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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sonny Clark Trio: The 1960 Sessions with George Duvivier and Max Roach

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Jazz history tends to favor the great musical innovators whose stylistic leaps have formed the ever-changing vocabulary of jazz: the improvisational wonder of Louis Armstrong, the free flight of Charlie Parker, the chameleon-like transformations of Miles Davis, and the singular piano world of Thelonious Monk. For long a time, Monk, along with Bud Powell, has been seen as one of the architects of bop piano, and while this is certainly true, it can be interesting to hear those bop pianists ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Sonny Clark: Cool Struttin’ – 1958

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Blue Note Records was many things in the 1950s and '60s, but it was never the home of cool jazz. Yes, it was ground zero for hard bop in the '50s. And yes, it was the capital of soul-jazz in the '60s. But to release an album in 1958 (one year after Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool) with the word “cool" in the title was a very un-Blue Note-ish thing. And yet Cool Struttin'--led by pianist Sonny ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sonny Clark: Dial "S" For Sonny

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Original copies of Blue Note 1570--Dial “S" For Sonny--are among the rarer Blue Note records, often changing hands for thousands of dollars for even a mediocre copy. That's an awful lot of scratch for a fifty-six year old piece of pressed vinyl and a cardboard sleeve. Fortunately, there are better ways to hear pianist Sonny Clark's debut recording for the fabled label. The Music Matters series of two-disk, 45 rpm vinyl records is winding down after close to one hundred ...

PROFILES

Heart of Darkness: Sonny Clark Remembers April

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Pianist Sonny Clark was a consummate hard-bopper who made only a handful of recordings as a leader, but appears on literally dozens of albums as a sideman. His impressive list of credits includes sessions with Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins, Billie Holiday, Grant Green, Stanley Turrentine, Lee Morgan, and Jackie McLean. His style was largely informed by that of Bud Powell, yet showed a great deal of originality. Clark was a close friend of fellow pianist Bill Evans, who dedicated a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sonny Clark: Sonny's Crib

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Sonny's Crib is a very pleasing recording from the sadly overlooked pianist Sonny Clark that works very well as a representative piece of the Blue Note catalogue at the time, framing all the characteristics that made that label so successful. It is essentially a blowing session, and to some extent, a preparation for Coltrane's seminal Blue Train, which was recorded several weeks after Sonny's Crib and featured the same ensemble with Lee Morgan subbing for Donald Byrd and Kenny Drew ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sonny Clark: My Conception.

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In the late 50s and early 60s Sonny Clark functioned as the de facto house pianist for the fabled Blue Note label. Many of his recordings with giants like Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Curtis Fuller among many others are considered classics of the hard bop genre. Unfortunately, this Bud Powell-influenced pianist suffered from drug and alcohol addictions and his career was cut tragically short at the age of 31. As a result, Sonny’s output as a leader, Dial S for ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sonny Clark: Standards

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Stablemates. In the early 1960s, pianist Sonny Clark (1931-1963) and Guitarist Grant Green (1931-1979) were the top-drawer house musicians in the Blue Note stable. Dexter Gordon considered Sonny Clark his favorite pianist, having him play on the notable Go and A Swinging Affair sessions. Clark also made a series of landmark recordings with clarinetist Buddy DeFranco for Verve. Grant Green was on hand for some of Blue Note's highest moments (Hank Mobley's Workout, Ike Quebec's Blue and Sentimental, and Lee ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Grant Green with Sonny Clark: Grant Green: The Complete Quarets with Sonny Clark

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Blue Note has reissued guitarist Grant Green's recordings with Sonny Clark on piano, made originally for that label in December 1961 and January 1962. These recordings were recently available again on Mosaic in a stylish limited edition that sold out quickly. Many more listeners will have the opportunity now to catch these wonderful sessions, whose history has been a bit obscure.

Although they were recorded in the early '60s, these sides hit paydirt in the U.S. first in 1980 ( ...


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