Sonny Clark -//- Leapin’ & Lopin’ – [Blue Note Records, 1961]
Sonny Clark had something special in regards to his instrument: he had an identity. Like Dexter Gordon or Ike Quebec on the tenor sax, Charlie Parker or Jackie McLean on the alto, Clifford Brown or Miles Davis on the trumpet, Scott La faro or Paul Chambers on bass, and Thelonious Monk, Herbie Nichols, or Bud Powell on piano, you didn’t need a program to tell you that Sonny was on the ivory. Along with “Cool Struttin‘” this is the album that captures what Clark could do when some brass was along for the ride. Charlie Rouse, who was so superb with Monk, shows that there was none better on sax when it came to giving his pianist/leaders what they wanted. The older, lesser known Turrentine does honor to the family name, and Butch Warren and Billy Higgins are excellent as always, but an added treat is hearing the deep voice of Ike Quebec’s tenor on ‘deep in a dream’, a elegant, languid, tune whose wistful, romantic quality was tailor made for the emotional musings of Quebec.
In many ways this song reminds me of the great version of “In a sentimental mood” that was the highlight of the album Coltrane and Ellington created. In any case this is an album that has the unity of a certain mellow-cool-tone, while at the same time shows enough jagged edges beneath the smooth-liquid-surface to keep things very interesting. Sonny Clark was always appreciated in accompaniment, but personally I appreciate the opportunity to hear something of his own conception. Sonny Clark was one of the great individualists on ivory, a rare and beautiful breed. *Note: this is a review of the non-RVG edition of this album. —Todd Stellhorn/Amazon.com
..:: Source: Amazon.com ::..