Sonny Criss Quartet Download
Jul 6, 1968Newport Jazz Festival (Newport, RI)
Sonny Criss Quartet Download
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Our downloads are all from master recordings owned by Wolfgang's Vault, an archive built from more than a dozen historic collections spanning a wide spectrum of musical genres and legendary performers.

We have painstakingly restored every tape using the highest quality analog-to-digital converters available and the light engineering touch we’ve come to be known for that makes you feel like you were at the show.

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Total Length:
11:21
Copyright:
© Wolfgang's Vault

Sonny Criss Quartet Download

$4
$4
Download Concert
What Makes Our Downloads Great

Our downloads are all from master recordings owned by Wolfgang's Vault, an archive built from more than a dozen historic collections spanning a wide spectrum of musical genres and legendary performers.

We have painstakingly restored every tape using the highest quality analog-to-digital converters available and the light engineering touch we’ve come to be known for that makes you feel like you were at the show.

All song files are high-quality 320k mp3s, delivered to you in a single zip file. If you haven't used a zip file before, it’s quite simple. On most computers you can just double-click on the zip file to extract it to a folder containing the mp3 song files, which you can then drag into iTunes or whatever library you use.

Sample this concert
  1. 1Willow Weep For Me08:58
  2. 2Sonnymoon for Two02:23
Item Number:
  • 20020018-51315-AD
Date:
  • Jul 6, 1968
Venue:
Sample this concert
  1. 1Willow Weep For Me08:58
  2. 2Sonnymoon for Two02:23
Total Length:
11:21
Copyright:
© Wolfgang's Vault

Liner Notes

Sonny Criss - alto sax; Bill Taylor - piano; Junie Booth - bass; Mousie Alexander - drums

A masterful alto sax player who was one of the more potent Charlie Parker disciples on the scene during the 1950s and 1960s, William "Sonny" Criss played with unparalleled authority and facility on the instrument. But because he spent most of his career on the West Coast, with a brief stay in Paris in the '70s, Criss never gained the recognition of his East Coast counterparts like Sonny Stitt and Cannonball Adderley.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, on October 23, 1927, Criss moved to Los Angeles at age 15 and by age 19 was playing alongside his hero Parker in a band led by bebop trumpeter Howard McGhee. He later put in time on the Los Angeles scene with the bands of R&B star Johnny Otis and singer Billy Eckstine before participating in a number of jam sessions arranged by jazz impresario Norman Granz in 1947. Following a brief stint in Buddy Rich's band, Criss was signed to Imperial Records in 1956 and subsequently gained an underground reputation on the strength of such strong releases as Jazz in U.S.A., Go Man and Sonny Criss Plays Cole Porter, the latter featuring pianist Sonny Clark. Criss also recorded 1959's At the Crossroads with pianist Wynton Kelly for the Texas-based Peacock Records label before signing with Prestige in 1965 and releasing a string of acclaimed bop-fueled albums including This Is Criss, Sonny's Dream, and The Beat Goes On. He subsequently recorded for the Xanadu, Muse, and Impulse labels before contracting stomach cancer in 1977, leading to his tragic suicide on November 19, 1977.

Criss' appearance at the 1968 Newport Jazz Festival was the first time that many East Coast jazz critics had a chance to see him perform. This fact may have led to him being named a "Talent Deserving Of Wider Recognition" later that year by Down Beat magazine. And while his Saturday afternoon set was brief, it was a perfect showcase of his pungent tone, soulful phrasing, and Bird-like facility on the horn. Accompanied by pianist Billy Taylor, bassist Junie Booth, and drummer Mousie Alexander, Criss opened with a blues-drenched rendition of "Willow Weep for Me" that had him flaunting his astonishing chops. His stunning cadenza at the end of this oft-covered Tin Pan Alley chestnut offers further proof of Criss' sheer command of his instrument. The abbreviated set closes with a blazing uptempo romp through the Sonny Rollins blues classic "Sonnymoon for Two" that showcases Criss in full flight, spinning rapid-fire lines in a seamless flow of notes. His rip-roaring, incendiary alto work on this bebop staple earned him a standing ovation from this appreciative Newport crowd. (Milkowski)

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