Sonny Criss

This Is Criss!

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Along with tenor saxophonist Harold Land, altoist Sonny Criss qualifies as one of the most overlooked giants of West Coast jazz. His sound -- like most alto players of the bebop and hard bop days -- was heavily influenced by Charlie Parker, but Criss still managed to forge an original style featuring a very original melodic bent with loads of bluesy underpinnings. The goods can be optimally previewed on this great Prestige date from 1966. Backed by a trio consisting of pianist Walter Davis, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Alan Dawson, Criss makes fine work of such rare-bird covers as "Sunrise, Sunset" and "When Sunny Gets Blue." There are also some fine originals here, including Criss' own "Steve's Blues" and Davis' classic "Greasy." A perfect start to your Criss collection.

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