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Dial S For Sonny (1957)

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Sonny Clark

Dial "S" for Sonny, Sonny Clark's first session for Blue Note Records and his first session as a leader, is a terrific set of laidback bop, highlighted by Clark's liquid, swinging solos. Clark leads a first-rate group -- Art Farmer (trumpet), Curtis Fuller (trombone), Hank Mobley (tenor sax), Wilbur Ware (bass), Louis Hayes (drums) -- through four originals and two standards, balancing the selections between swinging bop and reflective ballads. There are traces of Bud Powell in Clark's style, but he's beginning to come into his own, developing a style that's alternately edgy and charmingly relaxed. Mobley, Farmer and Fuller have their moments, but Clark steals the show in this set of fine, straight-ahead bop. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine