This 1957 session includes John Coltrane, Donald Byrd, Curtis Fuller, Paul Chambers and Art Taylor! The Clark-Coltrane interpretation of Kurt Weill's Speak Low and Clark's own News for Lulu are certified jazz classics; this CD adds three alternate takes to an already-legendary album.
Because the great hard-bop pianist died at age 31, each of his recordings carries that much more weight. This 1957 outing features a top-shelf unit including John Coltrane
(two weeks before he waxed the legendary Blue Train
), Donald Byrd
, Paul Chambers
, Curtis Fuller
, and Art Taylor
. Clark had all the urgency and drive of hard bop's funkiest pianists, but he tempered it with an artfulness and elegance that was perhaps a remnant of his West Coast years. This ensemble brings to life standards such as "Speak Low" (with vibrant Latin head), "With a Song in My Heart" (at brisk tempo), and "Come Rain or Come Shine" (caressed at an especially slow clip), while Clark's two originals give ample room for the soloists to shine. The 1998 reissue adds three alternate takes to an already exciting session. --Marc Greilsamer