Sonny Clark is something of a neglected figure these days. However, he should be immortalised for making this one record alone, if not also for his inluence upon Bill Evans, whose “NYC’s No Lark” is dedicated to the pianist-composer. “Cool Struttin'” is one of my absolute favourite Blue Notes and features a rare appearance on the label by Art Farmer on trumpet. Needless -to-say, his playing is as exemplorary as ever. Full marks to Mr. McLean on alto too.
This is classic fifties hard bop, music caught between the pioneer playing of Bird and the 60’s revolutions of Mile and ‘Trane. It displays an innocence and freshness typical of the era and Clark’s writing is instantly memorable. Unfortunately, Clark did not make too many records in his short and tragic career and “Cool Struttin'” remains his masterpiece. This is certainly an album you will want on your desert island.