Inspired by Charlie Parker and then Jackie McLean, the widely experienced, Detroit-born altoist Sonny Red, nee Sylvester Kyner (1932-1980) was an archetypal Motor City bopper, who, like many of his confreres there, also absorbed the blues-drenched lines of pianist Bud Powell. Forthright, direct, unpretentious, a skilled soloist with a strong feeling for the blues, he played and recorded with some of the finest jazzmen around.
The presence here of such luminous talents as, most notably, pianist Barry Harris, along with fellow pianist Tommy Flanagan, trumpeter Blue Mitchell, saxophonists Clifford Jordan and Yusef Lateef, and guitarist Grant Green left no doubt about his stature among them.
Despite this and the fact that he also worked with such marquee names as Art Blakey, Kenny Dorham, Donald Byrd, Curtis Fuller and Paul Quinichette, he never quite made the breakthrough his skills suggested he would and his recordings have been difficult to find.
This collection of quartet, quintet and sextet settings brings together four albums he made for the Jazzland label during one of the most productive spells of his career and shows why he was held in such esteem by his contemporaries.
01. Brother B (Sonny Red) 4:58
02. All I Do Is Dream of You (Freed-Brown) 4:01
03. The New Blues (Sonny Red) 5:30
04. Ditty (Sonny Red) 4:33
05. 'Teef (Sonny Red) 6:24
06. Breezin' (Sonny Red) 6:04
07. A Handful of Stars (Lawrence-Shapiro) 4:40
08. If There Is Someone Lovelier Than You (Dietz-Schwartz) 2:48
09. Cumberland Court (Clifford Jordan) 3:49
10. A Story Tale (Clifford Jordan) 4:48
11. You're Driving Me Crazy (Walter Donaldson) 5:38
12. Defiance (Sonny Red) 3:24
13. Prints (Sonny Red) 6:00
14. Hip Pockets (Red-Jordan) 5:00
15. They Say It's Wonderful (Irving Berlin) 5:13
16. If I Didn't Care (Jack Lawrence) 5:14
01. I Like the Likes of You (Duke-Harburg) 4:20
02. Bye, Bye Blues (Hamm-Bennett-Lown-Gray) 4:32
03. Never, Never Land (Comden-Green-Styne) 6:29
04. Ko-kee (Sonny Red) 4:15
05. Images (Sonny Red) 6:30
06. Blues for Donna (Sonny Red) 4:46
07. Dodge City (Sonny Red) 5:19
08. Moon River (Mancini-Mercer) 6:10
09. Super-20 (Sonny Red) 5:35
10. The Mode (Sonny Red) 8:47
11. Blue Sonny (Sonny Red) 8:29
12. The Rhythm Thing (Sonny Red) 5:10
13. Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered (Rodgers-Hart) 5:43
CD 1, tracks #1-8, from the Jazzland album "Breezing" (JLP 932)
CD 1, tracks #9-16, from the Jazzland album "Clifford Jordan & Sonny Red
- A Story Tale" (JLP 940)
CD 2, tracks #1-4 & #8-10, from the Jazzland album "The Mode" (JLP 959)
CD 2, tracks #5-7 & #11-13, from the Jazzland album "Images" (JLP 974)
Personnel on "Breezing":
Sonny Red Quartet and Sextet
Sonny Red (as); Barry Harris (p); Bob Cranshaw (b); Albert 'Tootie' Heath (d). Added on tracks #1,3,5 & 6: Blue Mitchell (tp), Yusef Lateef (ts).
Recorded at Plaza Sound Studios, New York City, November 3, 1960
Personnel on "A Story Tale":
Clifford Jordan and Sonny Red Quintet
Sonny Red (as); Clifford Jordan (ts); Tommy Flanagan (p); Art Davis (b); Elvin Jones (d). On tracks #9,10 & 16: Ronnie Mathews, replaces Flanagan.
Recorded at Bell Sound Studios, New York City, February 14, 1961
Personnel on "The Mode" (CD 2, #1-4):
Sonny Red Quartet
Sonny Red (as); Cedar Walton (p); George Tucker (b); Jimmy Cobb (d).
Recorded at Plaza Sound Studios, New York City, May 29, 1961
Personnel on "Images" (CD 2, #5-7):
Sonny Red Quintet
Blue Mitchell (tp); Sonny Red (as); Barry Harris (p); George Tucker (b); Lex Humphries (d).
Recorded at Plaza Sound Studios, New York City, June 25, 1961
Personnel on "The Mode" (CD 2, #8-10) / "Images" (CD 2, #11-13)
Sonny Red Quintet:
Red (as); Barry Harris (p); Grant Green (g except #13); George Tucker (b); Jimmy Cobb (d).
Recorded at Plaza Sound Studios, New York City, December 14, 1961
Engineers: Ray Fowler & Bill Stoddard (CD 1 #9-16)
Original cover designs by Ken Deardoff.
Original recordings produced by Orrin Keepnews.
This compilation produced for CD release by Jordi Pujol
Stereo · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered
Blue Moon Producciones Discograficas S.L.
"Sonny was really advanced for his age. Even in high school, he was someone to listen to. He picked up on Bird very early. Sonny was one of the first guys, young alto players, to really have a sound. He sounded like someone different than, you know, Johnny Hodges. Sonny was quite original in his own right. He had his own sound and his own ideas. His way of playing was very personal. I know he loved all kinds of music and was pretty well-versed in the classics too."