The Complete Sonny Clark Blue Note Sessions is a treasure trove of jazz history, chronicling the work of legendary pianist Conrad Yeatis “Sonny” Clark. This limited edition 6-CD set by Mosaic Records covers nine Blue Note albums and 61 tracks, including out-takes, showcasing four years of artistic development.
A Brief Biography
Sonny Clark, a jazz pianist who died at only 32 years old due to heroin addiction, played with many of the greats, such as John Coltrane, Hank Mobley, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, and Charlie Rouse, among others. Despite his immense talent, Clark’s contributions to jazz have been somewhat overlooked until recently.
The Complete Sonny Clark Blue Note Sessions
This comprehensive collection, produced by the jazz-specialist label Blue Note, features 23 of Francis Wolff’s atmospheric photographs of the sessions, along with extensive notes and detailed track analysis by veteran jazz critic Bob Blumenthal.
Blumenthal’s essay offers insights into Clark’s unique style, which he describes as “less relentless and virtuosic than Bud Powell, and less brittle and more flowing than Horace Silver.” Clark’s playing is characterized by its inventiveness, dexterity, and at times, surprising musical choices.
A Dive into the Music
Throughout the collection, listeners are treated to a variety of musical settings and lineup changes, showcasing the versatility and adaptability of Clark’s playing. From the hard bop stylings of the early recordings, such as “Dial ‘S’ For Sonny” and “Sonny’s Crib,” to the more introspective and lyrical “Sonny Clark Trio” and “Sonny Clark Quintet,” the music never fails to captivate and inspire.
Some notable tracks in the collection include “Voodoo” from the album “Leapin’ And Lopin’,” which features a somber theme and Clark’s hauntingly beautiful playing, and “Zellmar’s Delight,” which showcases Clark’s joyous melodies and infectious energy.
The Complete Sonny Clark Blue Note Sessions is a testament to the immense talent and lasting impact of Sonny Clark. This collection not only preserves his musical legacy but also reintroduces his work to a new generation of jazz enthusiasts. With its exceptional sound quality, masterful performances, and insightful liner notes, this is a must-have collection for any serious jazz fan.
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More detail from Mosaic Records