Sonny Criss

Memorial Album [Xanadu]

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This out-of-print LP contains several formerly rare sessions featuring the talented bop altoist Sonny Criss. The first five numbers (which were only previously available on the collector's label Jazz Showcase) were privately recorded and feature a sextet that Billy Eckstine was using for his backup band at the time. Criss teams up with the high-note trumpeter Al Killian and tenor saxophonist Wardell Gray and already sounds quite distinctive on the transitional swing-to-bop performances. Also on this LP is a 1950 vocal by Damita Jo on "I Can't Give You Anything but Love" that has some prominent Criss, a 1952 quartet rendition of "Strike Up the Band" and five songs that comprised a previously unheard demonstration record of Criss' quartet (with pianist Hampton Hawes) in 1965. This album is quite a collector's item and recommended to bop collectors lucky enough to run across it.

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