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Sonny Clark: The Best of the Blue Note Years

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Album Review

It took awhile, but Blue Note has finally seen fit to honor one of its best with a best-of disc. And thanks to rabid fans like John Zorn and hard bop fanatics the world over, pianist Sonny Clark has also gotten the kind of reissue program such label cohorts as Hank Mobley, Wayne Shorter, and Lee Morgan have been blessed with for some time. Culled from Clark's short but potent prime of 1957-1961, the first five sides here (out of nine) come from his particularly fertile first year, when such classic LP's as Dial "S" for Sonny, Sonny's Crib, and Sonny Clark Trio were cut. Besides an urbane slice of Clark's single note style ("Softy, As In a Morning Sunrise"), this batch features two of his marquee originals (the Far Eastern-tinged, noirish blues swingers "Sonny's Crib" and "Dial S For Sonny") and an exquisite early Coltrane vehicle ("Speak Low"). Things get even better with the title track to his hard bop masterpiece, Cool Struttin', and the Ike Quebec feature, "Deep In A Dream," from the equally fine Leapin' and Lopin' album. Add to that an all-star list of hard boppers like Mobley, Curtis Fuller, Donald Byrd, Art Farmer, Charlie Rouse, Paul Chambers, and Philly "Joe" Jones, and you have a very classy way of staving off the Clark shopping spree that is sure to come.

Customer Reviews

Cool jazz, great album, great artist!

when I first heard this album I appreciate it. And I still do! I tried to see if I can get above five stars in the rating system, because that's how much I liked it.


Born: July 21, 1931 in Herminie, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s

Like Fats Navarro and Charlie Parker before him, Sonny Clark's life was short but it burned with musical intensity. Influenced deeply by Bud Powell, Clark nonetheless developed an intricate and hard-swinging harmonic sensibility that was full of nuance and detail. Regarded as the quintessential hard bop pianist, Clark never got his due before he passed away in 1963 at the age of 31, despite the fact that it can be argued that he never played a bad recording date either as a sideman or as a leader....
Full Bio
Sonny Clark: The Best of the Blue Note Years, Sonny Clark
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  • $10.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Hard Bop, Bop
  • Released: Apr 26, 2001

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