Friday, November 4, 2016

Leapin’ And Lopin’, Sonny Clark, piano.

Over the last couple of years, Rudy Van Gelder, the sound maven of hundreds of jazz recordings, has re-mastered some classic Blue Note sides, this among them. Sonny Clark might have never conquered the summit on the jazz mountain, but his rather limited amount of work remains highly valued and always swinging. For this 1962 session, he invited Tommy Turrentine, Charlie Rouse, Butch Warren and Billy Higgins to the studio to participate in a feast of formidable fare. From the opening notes of Clark’s by-now familiar “Somethin’ Special,” you’ll know that this gathering was indeed, something’ special. Clark was a clear headed, post bop pianist who never wasted a note. The one and only standard on the date is Jimmy Van Heasen’s “Deep In a Dream.” Other than that, it’s a program of Clark’s clean, engaging melody lines and the playing of his inspired colleagues. It’s been said in music that time is the ultimate test, and this ensemble from nearly fifty hears ago, sounds very much like they could have been in the studio a week ago Thursday!  If you’ve somehow missed out on the music of Sonny Clark, here’s your chance to encounter one of the ‘quiet’ greats of jazz.
Blue Note (reissue), 2008, 55:16.

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