Sonny Criss

The Complete Imperial Sessions

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This double disc reissue on Blue Note contains the three releases that alto saxophonist Sonny Criss did for Imperial: Jazz U.S.A., Go Man!, and Plays Cole Porter. These sessions were all recorded in 1956 at a time when Criss had honed his amazing bebop alto precision. These 34 performances contain only five of his originals and are surrounded by mainly standards. The bands consisted of solid lineups with Sonny Clark or Kenny Drew on piano; Barney Kessel on guitar; Leroy Vinnegar, Buddy Clark or Bill Woodson on bass; Larry Bunker on vibes; and Larance Marable or Chuck Thompson taking care of drumming duties. While Criss had a career that erratically spanned the '70s, these Imperial sessions (reissued in glorious mono) contained highly regarded performances of passionate blues, moving ballads, and energetic up-tempo pieces.

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