Sonny Clark – Cool Struttin’ (1958/2014) [MONO]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 37:25 minutes | 1,59 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover | Source: HDTracks | © Blue Note Records
“With the single exception of Kind of Blue, Sonny Clark’s Cool Struttin’ is almost certainly the coolest jazz album of all time” — 100 Greatest Jazz Albums.
Cool Struttin’ features a constellation of jazz greats: Jackie McLean on alto sax, Art Farmer on trumpet, and two members of Miles Davis’ Quintet (Philly Joe Jones on drums and Paul Chambers on bass). While Kind of Blue focused on modal jazz, Cool Struttin’ takes its soul from the heart of the blues.
Recorded in 1958, this legendary date with the still-undersung Sonny Clark in the leader’s chair also featured a young Jackie McLean on alto (playing with a smoother tone than he had before or ever did again), trumpeter Art Farmer, and the legendary rhythm section of bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones, both from the Miles Davis band. The set begins with one of the preeminent “swinging medium blues” pieces in jazz history: the title track with its leveraged fours and eights shoved smoothly up against the walking bass of Chambers and the backbeat shuffle of Jones. Clark’s solo, with its grouped fifths and sevenths, is a wonder of both understatement and groove, while Chambers’ arco solo turns the blues in on itself. While there isn’t a weak note on this record, there are some other tracks that stand out, most notably Miles’ “Sippin’ at Bells,” with its loping Latin rhythm. When McLean takes his solo against a handful of Clark’s shaded minor chords, he sounds as if he may blow it — he comes out a little quick — but he recovers nicely and reaches for a handful of Broadway show tunes to counter the minor mood of the piece. He shifts to both Ben Webster and Lester Young before moving through Bird, and finally to McLean himself, riding the margin of the changes to slip just outside enough to add some depth in the middle register. The LP closes with Henderson and Vallée’s “Deep Night,” the only number in the batch not rooted in the blues. It’s a classic hard bop jamming tune and features wonderful solos by Farmer, who plays weird flatted notes all over the horn against the changes, and McLean, who thinks he’s playing a kind of snake charmer blues in swing tune. This set deserves its reputation for its soul appeal alone.
01 – Cool Struttin’
02 – Blue Minor
03 – Sippin’ At Bells
04 – Deep Night
Sonny Clark – piano
Jackie McLean – alto saxophone
Art Farmer – trumpet
Paul Chambers – bass
Philly Joe Jones – drums
Michael Cuscuna – producer, liner notes, reissue producer
Alfred Lion – producer
Ron McMaster – digital transfers
Rudy Van Gelder – engineer