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Criss is easily my candidate for the most underappreciated alto player of all time. A superb bop stylist, he could play anything. His recordings always featured wonderful blues playing, incredibly melodic ballad playing and when he kicked into uptempo, he was as fast and articulate as was humanly possible. He was also the possessor of an unique tone- very fiery and passionate in his sound. It is as recognizably his own as Jackie McLean's or Parker's or for that matter, Julius Hemphill's or Arthur Blythe's.
One of his favorite song writers was the great LA pianist, Horace Tapscott (another great artist who has been ignored outside of his home turf). Tapscott is the writer of my two favorite songs on this album The Isle Of Celia and the breathtaking This Is For Benny. On the latter, Criss starts off way fast and just throws off melodic variation after variation. All within a solo that has an overall logic and development. How do people think or create at this level? Truely wonderful.
The band of LA veterens that accompany him on this disc are mini-revelations in themselves. Coker and Crawford are wonderfully melodic soloists in their own right.
Two years after this recording, Sonny Criss died at his own hand. None of us can do anything about the fact that he was so largely ignored during his lifetime. Now would be a good time, however, to learn about this talent. I believe you will as captivated as I am. Who knows, you may want to spread the news about him as much as I do. Criss was a great player, someone you should know if you love bop sax players. This is a great album to start your acquaintance with him. Trust me, you will not stop with this one.
Learning of Mr. Sonny Criss one evening while listening to KCSM.org on the internet, It seemed appropriate to find the album of the played artist.
Nice work, varied styles on one album.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
"Ornette Coleman has called Criss "the fastest man alive"." - Bob Porter
Five FABULOUS Stars. Read more
The 1998 Jazz 32 release is the second packaging of this session, released originally in 1975 and most recently in 2003 on the Savoy label. Read morePublished on October 20, 2003 by Giuseppe C.
Yet another reissue of a highly admired Sonny Criss session from 1975. For some reason, this 2003 Savoy release omits "All the Things You Are," the bonus track on the... Read morePublished on October 9, 2003 by Giuseppe C.