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Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

REASSESSING

Sonny's Crib

Read "Sonny's Crib" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

From the outset, pianist Sonny Clark's sophomore effort as a leader is crisp, white-hot hard bop. Leading a standard bop trumpet-tenor saxophone quintet (Donald Byrd, John Coltrane), supplemented with trombone (Curtis Fuller), Clark and his most reliable rhythm section of bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Art Taylor carve five dictionary examples (with alternate takes on the CD) of the music evolving from bebop, principally on the East Coast (if we consider that cool jazz took root on the West Coast ...

REASSESSING

Dial "S" for Sonny

Read "Dial "S" for Sonny" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Pianist Sonny Clark was culturally marginalized in much the same way as his contemporary Elmo Hope—both heroin-addicted jazz musicians in the 1950s: at the time, and romantically, a cliche. Both pianists have been sorely lumped into the “Bud Powell school of bop piano" which superficially may seem accurate until one considers the evolutionary continuum of jazz piano that places both Clark and Hope conceptually and stylistically beyond Powell. Clark was born in Georgia and raised outside of jny: ...

ALBUM REVIEW

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

Read "The 1960 Sessions with George Duvivier and Max Roach" reviewed by Jakob Baekgaard

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

Read "Sonny Clark: Cool Struttin’ – 1958" reviewed by Marc Davis

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Sonny Clark: Dial "S" For Sonny

Read "Dial "S" For Sonny" reviewed by Greg Simmons

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 ...

PROFILE

Heart of Darkness: Sonny Clark Remembers April

Read "Heart of Darkness:  Sonny Clark Remembers April" reviewed by Alexander M. Stern

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Sonny Clark: Sonny's Crib

Read "Sonny's Crib" reviewed by Reid Thompson

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 ...


ENGAGE

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