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  Audio Fidelity -
  AFZ 006
  Sonny Clark Trio: A Session With Sonny Clark
  "A Session With Sonny Clark"

Sonny Clark Trio
Track listing:
  1. Junka
2. Sonia
3. Blues Blue
4. Nica
5. Minor Meeting
6. Sonny's Crip
7. Blues Mambo
8. My Conception
9. Sonia (Alternate Take)
10. Blues Blue (Alternate Take)
11. Junka (Alternate Take)
12. Minor Meeting (Alternate Take)
13. Nica (Alternate Take)
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Reviews: 7 show all

Review by miguelito54 April 23, 2007 (4 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Sonny Clark's piano trio recordings easily fit on three discs, two are on Blue Note and this one here was made for Time Records. The main difference is that Clark plays his own tunes exclusively on the Time session, and all standard material on the Blue Note trio sessions. This may seem surprising as Blue Note's Alfred Lion found it so important to feature other pianists he considered important with their own composition, like Thelonious Monk or Andrew Hill, but on second look he had Clark do that on his quintet and sextet sessions and reserved standards for the trios, which he issued mostly on 45 rpm singles and only one (more boppish) LP - Red Garland's success as a jukebox hitmaker for Prestige was a model.
So we can be all the more grateful for this session, expanded with no less than five alternate takes, all of which are just as good as the master takes. Hearing Sonny Clark interpreting his own (very interesting) tunes in this focussed setting presents a pianist even more inspired than on the standard sessions or the versions with horns: Theme and solos are throughly connected. My personal opinions is that Clark's greatness comes across much better on this disc than anywhere else. If I had to choose but one disc from his discography, it would be this one.
The stereo spread places the bass on the left, piano in the center, and drums on the right. The sound Steve Hoffman coaxed out of the original three-track master tapes leaves nothing left to be desired, but this remains a late 1950's recording, and not one of the greatest, sound-wise.
Those who own it may consider themselves lucky: It sold fast due to Clark's reputation in jazz circles, and Hoffman's as a remastering engineer, and used copies now achieve ridiculously high prices. There is a CD reissue on Fresh Sound probably copped from this remastering, but the SACD layer sounds audibly more transparent than the CD layer. If you can get hold of a copy at a decent price, grab it. Sonny Clark's originality can be best appreciated on this disc, and the great sidemen (George Duvivier and Max Roach) are an added bonus.
p.s. It seems this CD is still available at normal price from

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Review by DACooper July 24, 2004 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is an very good session that finally sees the light of the digital day in this terrific hybrid SACD remastered from the original masters by Steve Hoffman. With Hoffman's stamp on this disc, you can rest assured that this disc will sound amazing, and it does not let us down. Sonny's piano is clean and crisp, the acoustic bass is precise without being muddy or buried in the mix, and Max Roach's subtle playing is clearly articulated, especially his brush strokes and cymbal work. It's amazing how a recording done back in 1959 can actually sound better than a tinny, loud modern recording, but in Hoffman's capable hands, that's exactly what you have.

The performances are very impressive on this album. Max Roach is a solid foundation, driving the tunes with some very subtle but effective cymbal work. He also stands out in Minor Meeting, with his most agressive playing. Duvivier is a smooth player who walks the dog as well as anyone in the business and has some tasty business on Sonny's Crip. Sonny Clark is a great bop pianist, who reminds me a lot of Bud Powell, but is more lyrical and melodic in his soloing. The tunes here are not memorable, but basically work as good set pieces for the improvisations.

All in all, this is a quality jazz session that will leave you smiling.

What will NOT leave you smiling though is that as I write this Audio Fidelity has already lost the license to this disc and it is now officially in the "hard to find" category. However, I suggest you seek it out, because you will be very pleasantly surprised at the sound quality and performances on the SACD.

p.s. I would also recommend that you check out the Sonny Clark CDs Cool Struttin' and Leapin' & Lopin'.

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Review by stvnharr November 8, 2003 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Fantastic disc!
This has excellent sound quality, as to be expected from Kevin Gray (Acous-Tech) and Steve Hoffman (DCC).
The music is good straight ahead jazz of the late 50's.
The disc is great to listen to, and a relative bargin at it's price.

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