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Portrait of Sonny Criss
Sonny Criss
Portrait of Sonny Criss
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #1

Japanese limited edition issue of the album classic in a deluxe, miniaturized LP sleeve replica of the original vinyl album artwork.


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CD Details

All Artists: Sonny Criss
Title: Portrait of Sonny Criss
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Ojc
Original Release Date: 1/1/2000
Re-Release Date: 7/1/1991
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Style: Bebop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 025218665520


Album Description
Japanese limited edition issue of the album classic in a deluxe, miniaturized LP sleeve replica of the original vinyl album artwork.

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CD Reviews

Good but somewhat underachieved
N. Dorward | Toronto, ON Canada | 06/02/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Sonny Criss is a saxophonist who deserves a lot more attention than he ever got during his life. He's often been characterized as a Parker disciple but this is somewhat misleading: he's not a soundalike like Charlie McPherson or Frank Morgan, but a creative & distinctive player like Art Pepper or Phil Woods, creating something much more personal than reheated Parker licks. The liner notes here stress "soulfulness", & that's indeed the quality one finds in Criss's music; it can inject substance into an otherwise unpromising vehicle, like the pianist Walter Davis's "A Million of More Times"; or it can make the trajectory of a piece like "On a Clear Day" feel genuinely uplifting as it moves from its mournful opening to its joyous middle section.This is a good album that could be a touch better. There's a performance of the bop staple "Wee" which is pure bebop virtuosity: it's an astonishing performance, though marred badly by a squeaking reed, & also slightly blemished by Criss's losing his spot at one point & moving into the bridge too soon. But the real reason to listen to the album is the two ballad performances, "God Bless the Child", one of the best renditions of the tune on record; & "Smile". His ballads are never desolate or merely pretty, but instead radiate warmth, & often a gentle melancholy.An album worth a listen; a small pity that it's so brief (a little over 30 minutes), & not entirely consistent. I would actually direct the curious to the immediately preceding disc instead, _This Is Criss_: it's perhaps slightly more consistent, & also has another of Criss's best ballad performances in "Skylark". -- Sad that Criss never made it during his life; in the 1970s, as he was finally getting back on track, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer & rather than waiting for it to take its course killed himself. With Frank Rosolino, it's one of the saddest ends for one of the greatest of West-Coast musicians of his generation: fans of Art Pepper, Chet Baker et al should certainly know his music."
Not The Best Portrait of Sonny
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 08/02/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Portrait of Sonny Criss" is a mixed album by an underrated alto sax wizard. While the slower numbers "On A Clear Day," God Bless the Child" and "Smile" are magical numbers, the remainder of the album does not quite hold up. The first tune "A Million Or More Times" is not very creative, and basically sounds like a 60s TV show theme song (can we say "hoping to cut a hit single"). The jazz standard "Wee" and "Blues in the Closet" are swinging but this is 1967, not 1957, and with a band of Walter Davis, Paul Chambers and (especially) Alan Dawson, I expected it to be more experimental. Instead, the quartet seems more at home on the slower tempo ballads. In all, "Portrait of Sonny Criss" deserves 3 1/2 stars, but since I can't I rounded it up. If you want to get a better portrait of Sonny, check out the newly released "Complete Imperial Sessions" on Blue Note."