Cool Music For Hot Weather: Sonny Clark

Now that wilting temperatures are here—at least in much of the northern hemisphere—Rifftides reader Sonny ClarkLarry Peterson suggests that Sonny Clark’s “Cool Struttin’” can bring welcome relief. Clark was a pianist who in a tragically short career attracted a substantial audience. His command of the keyboard and personalization of the style that he developed with Bud Powell as his initial model also earned him the esteem of his peers. Bill Evans created an anagram of Clark’s name as the title one of the compositions in his album Conversations With Myself. “NYC’s No Lark,” recognized the struggle with drugs that led to Clark’s death in 1963 at the age of 32.

“Cool Sruttin’” is the title tune of a timeless album that is a monument to Clark’s talent. The other members of the band are Art Farmer, trumpet; Jackie McLean, alto saxophone; Paul Chambers, bass; and Philly Joe Jones, drums. They recorded this on January 5, 1958.

I hope that you find a way to have a cool summer.

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  1. Charlton Price says

    Magisterial! Magnificent!

    Each of them! And the ensemble! And the album cover!

  2. Don Conner says

    Wonderful! When i’m feeling low-down and blue; I pull this album from the stacks. I hope some of the younger cats who haven’t heard this tune will understand what all the shouting’s about. Nice post, Doug.

  3. Tom King says

    Hot weather…..I wish!
    Minus 0-6C in Christchurch at 0900 Friday 4 July, but will play some Sonny Clark to warm up.

  4. James Cimarusti says

    Some more “Cool Struttin’ ” (along with Clark’s “Blue Minor”) can be found on Art Farmer and Frank Morgan’s Central Avenue Reunion CD with Lou Levy, Eric von Essen, and Albert “Tootie” Heath rounding out the lineup.

  5. Alan Broadbent says

    This is Sonny Clark speaking to me:

    “I have something I want to tell you if you would give me your ears and heart”

    This is other unmentionable pianists playing to me:

    “Xkhjdsf dlkjqwrefbf jkkjhsdq @$%^!!!”