Sonny Clark

Biography

Sonny Clark wasn't a fancy player, yet his uncluttered approach to Bop piano was elegant in its own way. Tunes such as "Voodoo" and "Cool Struttin'" are archetypes of Blue Note Hard Bop and they exemplify his strengths: a strong feel for the blues, a relaxed sense of swing and an ear for simple, almost effortless melodies. He recorded frequently for Blue Note in the late 1950s and early '60s with consistently strong results. Cool Struttin', Leapin' and Lopin', and Sonny's Crib, in particular, rank among his career highlights. His sidemen included Hank Mobley, Art Blakey, Philly Joe Jones, Jackie McLean, Paul Chambers and John Coltrane -- a who's who list that indicates how fellow musicians regarded him. Outside connoisseur circles, however, he wasn't a well known commodity, and his premature death in 1963 at age thirty-one did little to help. Fortunately, there's been a resurgent interest in his work in recent years, aided by a number of long-overdue CD reissues.
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