Sonny Criss

Sonny Criss Featuring Wynton Kelly

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Sonny Criss is heard in a March 1959 studio session (not January as claimed on this CD) that was originally issued as an LP titled At the Crossroads by the long defunct Peacock label. Accompanied by a potent rhythm section (pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Bob Cranshaw, and drummer Walter Perkins), the alto saxophonist interprets five standards and two originals with gusto. Trombonist Ole Hansen, who had joined Criss as a fellow sidemen under Buddy Rich, is added on four tracks, providing a great foil for him. Overall, the solos are especially striking in "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise" and the leader's uptempo hard bop original "Butt's Delight." It's a shame that this was just a one-time meeting (as either a quartet or quintet), as this band had the potential to produce additional rewarding sessions. Briefly available in a two-record set compilation by Impulse! called The Bop Masters, it finally was reissued on CD in 2001 by the Spanish label Fresh Sound.