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Sonny's Crib [1998 Bonus Tracks]
     

Sonny's Crib [1998 Bonus Tracks]

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by Sonny Clark
 

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Recorded in 1957, Sonny's Crib features a front line of Curtis Fuller, Donald Byrd, and John Coltrane with Clark on piano, Art Taylor on drums, and Paul Chambers on bass. Truly still a bebop recording, done a full year before the landmark Cool Struttin' session, nonetheless the

Overview

Recorded in 1957, Sonny's Crib features a front line of Curtis Fuller, Donald Byrd, and John Coltrane with Clark on piano, Art Taylor on drums, and Paul Chambers on bass. Truly still a bebop recording, done a full year before the landmark Cool Struttin' session, nonetheless the set produced some awesome readings of classic tunes, like the opener, "With a Song in My Heart," with one of the knottiest Byrd solos ever. As Chambers and Taylor up the rhythmic ante and Clark comps with enormous chords in the background, the entire line solos, but it is Byrd's that is stunning in its complexity -- though Coltrane could play bebop as well as anybody. The most notable tracks on the session are the classic readings of Kurt Weill's "Speak Low" and "News for Lulu," the latter of which has been adopted by John Zorn as his theme. On the former, Clark's rearrangement, with Coltrane leading the front line, is truly revelatory. Using a Latin rhythm in cut time, Clark sets up a long, 22-note melody line that moves right into Trane's solo. He moves the key around and harmonically shifts gears as Clark follows and stays in the pocket for him while Trane uses the middle register for legato pyrotechnics. Fuller's next and covers over the blues inherent in the tune with pure swing, before Byrd brings it back into the fold with a gorgeous counterpoint of the melody. Clark taps his way into extended harmonics on the sixths and sharpens the accents as he trounces the original key and plays double trills to get back. The latter is a smokin' Latin take on the hard bop blues, with a staggered melodic line and a large tonal palette that gives the horn players room to explore the timbral possibilities of Clark's colors -- which are revealed in the loosest, skittering skein of bluesy phrasing this side of Horace Silver in his solo. In all, Sonny's Crib is a phenomenal recording, one that opened the door to hard bop becoming the norm in the late '50s, and one that drew deft, imaginative performances from all its players.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/17/1998
Label:
Blue Note Records
UPC:
0724349736726
catalogNumber:
97367
Rank:
41237

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