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The Complete Quartets With Sonny Clark (1961)

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Sonny Clark

Mosaic released a four-disc box set titled The Complete Blue Note With Sonny Clark in 1991, rounding up everything that the guitarist and pianist recorded together between 1961 and 1962. Blue Note's 1997 version of the set, The Complete Quartets With Sonny Clark, trims Mosaic's collection by two discs, offering only the quartet sessions (the Ike Quebec sessions, Born to Be Blue and Blue and Sentimental, are available on individual discs). In some ways, this actually results in a more unified set, since it puts Green and Clark directly in the spotlight, with no saxophone to complete for solos, but it doesn't really matter if the music is presented as this double-disc set, the four-disc box, or the individual albums -- this is superb music, showcasing the guitarist and pianist at their very best. All of the sessions are straight-ahead bop but the music has a gentle, relaxed vibe that makes it warm, intimate, and accessible. Grant and Clark's mastery is subtle -- the music is so enjoyable, you may not notice the deftness of their improvisation and technique -- but that invests the music with the grace, style, and emotion that distinguishes The Complete Quartets. Small group hard bop rarely comes any better than this. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine