Sonny Clark

Complete Sessions

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With all due respect to Disconforme, this great set is a bit of a misnomer. It should be titled the "Complete Sessions of the Buddy DeFranco Quartet with Sonny Clark." Clark is not the leader here, though he certainly is a tremendous foil for the brilliant clarinetist. These sessions took place over a couple of months in 1954, with a rhythm section that contained bassist Gene Wright and drummer Bobby White. There are 27 tracks included. They range from a stellar reading of Johnny Mercer's "Autumn Leaves" to Clark's own hard bopping, call-and-response number "Cable Car," to an utterly breathtaking bebop read of "I'll Remember April," to the long version of Billy Taylor's "Titoro" -- yes, the more well-known shorter version is here as well. While there are a couple of versions each of a few tunes, they're worth hearing as most of this is simply stunningly played bebop with all the edges removed. Clark is such an excellent pianist for DeFranco because he understands subtlety, and is less busy than other pianists of his own generation -- he also swings like mad, and digs the way melody worked itself out in improvisation. For any fan of DeFranco's or Clark's who doesn't have this material, snap it up before the license expires.

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