220

Sonny Criss: The Complete Imperial Sessions

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
Had alto saxophonist Sonny Criss spent most of the time on the East Coast instead of settling in Los Angeles, he might have become more of a household name. In fact, it wasn’t until he made a series of sides for Prestige in the late ‘60s that he obtained even a modicum of the recognition due him, particularly through the magnificent Sonny’s Dream album. Unfortunately, by the end of the ‘70s he had met his untimely death at the age of 50. While Criss’ Prestige titles have been made available (with The Beat Goes On being reissued within the next month), his earlier work for Peacock and Imperial has been perennially hard to obtain.

Thanks to the folks at Blue Note, all three of Criss’ original Imperial albums have been collected on a new two-disc Connoisseur series reissue. All recorded in 1956, the original releases included are Jazz U.S.A., Go Man!, and Sonny Criss Plays Cole Porter. Sound quality for these West Coast sides is superb throughout, with Criss largely working as the sole horn in a small group format. In addition to such names as Barney Kessel, Kenny Drew, Leroy Vinnegar, Larry Bunker, and Lawrence Marable, these recordings also serve as a valuable missing piece in the meager catalog of pianist Sonny Clark, who appears on 22 of the 34 collected tracks. For the uninitiated, Criss might best be described as a cross between Johnny Hodges and Jackie McLean. He’s not quite as laid back as Hodges, but his tone is nowhere near as acerbic as McLean’s. The words “rich” and “romantic” come to mind. Anyway you describe it, this is some of Criss’ finest work and one of the best reissues of the year.


Track Listing: Willow Weep For Me, These Foolish Things, Blue Friday, Sunday, More Than You Know, Easy Living, Alabamy Bound, Something's Gotta Give, West Coast Blues, Criss Cross, Ham's Blues, Sweet Georgia Brown, Summertime, Memories of You, Wailin' With Joe, How Deep Is the Ocean, The Blues For Rose, The Man I Love, Until The Real Thing Come Along, Blue Prelude, After You've Gone, Come Rain Or Come Shine, How High the Moon, If I Had You, I Love You, Anything Goes, Easy To Love, It's All Right With Me, In the Still of the Night, Love For Sale, Night and Day, Just One of Those Things, What Is This Thing Called Love, I Get a Kick Out of You

Personnel: Sonny Criss- alto saxophone; Barney Kessel- guitar; Larry Bunker- vibes; Kenny Drew, Sonny Clark- piano; Bill Woodson, Leroy Vinnegar, Buddy Clark- bass; Chuck Thompson, Lawrence Marable- drums

| Record Label: Blue Note Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Expanding Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Expanding Heart
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 21, 2016
Read "Intenso!" CD/LP/Track Review Intenso!
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 7, 2016
Read "Have Yourself An Alto Madness Christmas" CD/LP/Track Review Have Yourself An Alto Madness Christmas
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "In Love With" CD/LP/Track Review In Love With
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: July 25, 2016
Read "Holding the Stage: Road Shows Vol. 4" CD/LP/Track Review Holding the Stage: Road Shows Vol. 4
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "Until Your Throat Is Dry" CD/LP/Track Review Until Your Throat Is Dry
by John Sharpe
Published: September 29, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!