Sonny Criss – This Is Criss (1966/2014) [HDTracks 24-44.1]

Sonny Criss – This Is Criss! (Rudy Van Gelder Remaster) (1966/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 40:14 minutes | 447 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Digital Booklet | © Prestige Records
Recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ; October 21, 1966
Remastered: 2008, Rudy Van Gelder at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ

In 1966 producer Don Schlitten imported Sonny Criss to New York for a recording session with a rhythm section handpicked for their ability to swing and for their understanding of the bebop methods that drove Criss. Determined to enhance the career of an alto saxophonist he considered an overlooked genius of the modern era, Schlitten thus provided the circumstance for one of Criss’s great albums. To many listeners, This Is Criss! was a revelation; it presented a fully matured soloist who had overcome the uneven conception and time problems that many of them remembered from his brilliant but erratic earlier work. Highlights include the grit and emotional directness of his playing on the blues and his inventiveness on the beautiful and harmonically demanding “Skylark.”

Along with tenor saxophonist Harold Land, altoist Sonny Criss qualifies as one of the most overlooked giants of West Coast jazz. His sound — like most alto players of the bebop and hard bop days — was heavily influenced by Charlie Parker, but Criss still managed to forge an original style featuring a very original melodic bent with loads of bluesy underpinnings. The goods can be optimally previewed on this great Prestige date from 1966. Backed by a trio consisting of pianist Walter Davis, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Alan Dawson, Criss makes fine work of such rare-bird covers as “Sunrise, Sunset” and “When Sunny Gets Blue.” There are also some fine originals here, including Criss’ own “Steve’s Blues” and Davis’ classic “Greasy.” A perfect start to your Criss collection. ~~AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook

1. Black Coffee 07:52
2. Days Of Wine And Roses 03:21
3. When Sunny Gets Blue 05:42
4. Greasy 02:28
5. Sunrise Sunset 02:52
6. Steve’s Blues 06:23
7. Skylark 05:11
8. Love For Sale 06:25

Sonny Criss, alto saxophone
Walter Davis Jr., piano
Paul Chambers, bass
Alan Dawson, drums