1 x LP
(1958) - 2011 Blue Note repressed on standard LP- Considered one of the great young pianists of the mid-to-late 1950s, Recorded in 1958, this legendary date with the still-undersung Sonny Clark in the leader's chair also featured a young Jackie McLean on
Release date: 07-06-2001 (originally released in 1958)
2001 Blue note repressed on standard LP- Considered one of the great young pianists of the mid-to-late 1950s, Recorded in 1958, this legendary date with the still-undersung Sonny Clark in the leader's chair also featured a young Jackie McLean on alto (playing with a smoother tone than he had before or ever did again), trumpeter Art Farmer, and the legendary rhythm section of bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones, both from the Miles Davis band.
Brilliant late '50s material by the great hard bop pianist and equally gifted supporting players, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones. Clark was among the most inventive pianists of the period, a masterful ballad interpreter and dynamic uptempo soloist, while Chambers and Jones had few peers, either as accompanists or in the spotlight.
Sonny Clark was practically the house pianist at Blue Note during 1957-62 before his tragically early death in 1963 when he was just 31. He began his career playing and recording with Teddy Charles and Wardell Gray in the early 1950s. Inspired by Bud Powell, he made a particularly strong impression during his period with clarinetist Buddy DeFranco’s group. He also worked with Dinah Washington, Serge Chaloff and Sonny Criss in addition to leading his own trio.
But he is most famous for his work for Blue Note in addition to leading seven albums for the label, Clark was on many sessions as a sidemen, uplifting every date with his adventurous and swinging playing. His playing was full of joyful discoveries, constant swing, and an optimistic creativity that was indescribable and quite infectious. Cool Struttin,’ the pianist’s most famous and rewarding album, features Sonny in a quintet with altoist Jackie McLean, trumpeter Art Farmer, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones.
On this 1958 gem, Clark is featured on four lengthy performances, including Miles Davis “Sippin’ At Bells” and the exotic “Deep Night.” The music is filled with magical moments where the five musicians seem to think and create like one. The greatest jazz performances include moments like those heard on “Cool Struttin’” where the music has a life of its own beyond the individual players. The more one plays this superb album, the more it is obvious that this is one of the truly essential Blue Note recordings.
A1 Cool Struttin
A2 Blue Minor
B1 Sippin At Bells
B2 Deep Night
Sonny Clark was ubiquitous at Blue Note sessions and led a handful of great albums of his own along the way Cool Struttin has a wonderful afterhours feel especially on the extended title blues and it is undoubtedly the highlight of Clarks prolific career The recording opens with the aptly named title cut as Clarks jaunty forwardleaning piano drives the tune with crisp precision The rest of the album is a sterling example of a late50s fingerpoppin bop session featuring a virtual whos who of Blue Notes thenrising young crop of hardbop stars including trumpeter Art Farmer saxophonist Jackie McClean bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones
Sonny Clark was a magnet for talent his compositions a framework for some remarkable blowing So it is with Cool Struttin All these tunes pack a punch the tight heads dexterous soloing and rhythmic reliability are all peeled off with athletic ease The tonal chemistry of the horns is something special Farmer remains burnished with sensuality commanding a bell like sonority in the upper register McLean burns and cuts like a knife behind which lurks a fulsome soul The title track is a well recognised classic but Blue Minor is equally up there Sonny nimble and iridescent complements the horns while Philly Joe keeps everyone buoyant Thanks Rudy you gem
Originally released: 1958
This release: 2015