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4.6 out of 5 stars
21
Cool Struttin'
Format: Audio CD|Change
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HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 15 December 2010
Recorded in the hey day of cool jazz, in the famous Van Gelder studios for the master of all jazz labels, Blue Note, and starring some of the big names of the time this is an album with an impressive pedigree. And it lives up to all expectations.

The original album was four extended cuts of superb cool jazz. In contrast to some of the other great albums of the time the feel of the album is a little more up tempo than usual, with some great swinging sets that really get you tapping your foot to the beat.

The rhythm section of Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones do superlative work in the background, laying down a rock steady beat for the soloists, Art Farmer on trumpet, Jackie McLean on sax and Sonny Clark on piano, to work around. Everyone really gets to stretch their legs, with all players given room to breathe and shine individually, but it is when they all come together that the magic is really in the air.

Included in this edition are two cuts, Royal Flush and Lover that did not make it onto the original album. These are worthy additions, and really add to the album. It must have been a tough choice when this was originally released, deciding which tracks had to be cut!

As with all the Rudy Van Gelder Edition series, I have found the remastering to be excellent, with my untutored ears finding a nice crisp sound and good separation when played on my stereo.
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on 2 November 2009
Sonny Clark was the "house" pianist at Blue Note, playing on dozens of great hard-bop dates for the label. He had a definite sound of his own; like all the greats, a kind of lilting, melodic quality on long runs of the keyboard which - as here - lifted the music to a higher level of expression. "Cool Struttin'" is a masterpiece - performed with the Blue Note bedrock rhythm section of Philly Joe on drums and Mr PC on bass and with the joyful exuberance of Art Farmer and Jackie McLean on trumpet and alto sax respectively, this is a CD you will return to again and again. The high spot is undoubtedly "Deep Night", which hits a perfect groove and carries the listener away to a cooler and better place. Not to be missed.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 27 April 2012
Pianist Sonny Clark recorded this BLUE NOTE hard bop classic on January 5, 1958 with Jackie McLean(alto sax); Art Farmer(trumpet); Paul Chambers(bass) & Philly Joe Jones(drums). Everyone in the quintet is in superb form and all 6 tracks are memorable with the highlights being Sonny Clark's 'Blue Minor', Miles Davis's 'Sippin' At Bells' and a wonderful version of the standard 'Lover'.
The music still sounds fresh and vital over 50 years later and 'Cool Struttin'' is an essential album for anyone who appreciates soulful hard bop.
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on 22 January 2004
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. This has been one of my most played records in my collection for years.
The rythmn team of Clark, Paul Chamber and the great Philly Joe Jones is fantastic and the leader contributes several compositions that are now classics of the jazz canon. Clark's style is simple, effective and always swinging. The best track is "Blue Minor" where the band really hit it's stride, but there is not a duff note on this legendary disc. If you are a fan of Blue Note, this is a must for every collection.Even the cover is a classic!!
Fans of Sonny Clark's music who are musicians should also check out Gerard & Sarzin's book "Jazz composers of the 50's & 60's" that includes the music for "Cool Struttin'", "Blue Minor" and "Royal Flush", all featured on this disc. It also includes music by other Blue Note piano gods such as Herbie Nichols and Andrew Hill.
Clark's album "Sonny's Crib" is nearly as good and features John
Coltrane in the line up amongst Curtis Fuller and Donald Byrd. 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.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 29 June 2011
Sonny Clark was not a name I knew that well until relatively recently. Now I not only know his name, I also have the privilege of knowing & loving the driving, honest, down-to-earth jazz on this impeccable Blue Note classic from 1958, bang in the middle of their golden era.
This is mainstream bebop jazz at its uncompromising, approachable best, and what a line-up: Art Farmer`s uncluttered trumpet a sober foil to the simmering alto sax of Jackie McClean, the superb Paul Chambers on bass, with ever-attentive, punchy drumming courtesy of Philly Joe Jones. An intriguing team.
Sonny Clark was a light-fingered, deft pianist, mixing witty runs with apt chords, playing always articulately, and swinging like crazy too. His lovely solo on Deep Night (co-composed, I see, by none other than film star Rudy Vallee!) is followed by tight, smoking solos from Farmer & McClean, the latter`s brightly-lit tone a welcome burst of light after the cooler utterances of Farmer`s trumpet. Sonny comes back in before Philly Joe beats an urgent path to the final bars of this 9-minute workout.
As with most of the Blue Note reissues, this one`s perfectly remastered by Michael Cuscuna, with the original photo by Francis Wolff adorning the cover. It beats me how a record made in `58 can still sound so pristine. (After all, not that many classical recordings from the fifties scrub up this well.)
This is one of those discs that will give pleasure ever & always. The combination of musicians is a happy one, the playing unquestionably fine throughout. The six tracks are all the more effective as the five players don`t give away all their secrets in one go, or try to show off their wares more than would be tasteful or tactful. It`s an album that not only grows in stature the more one hears it, but the more tracks one hears as it goes on, a cumulative effect building as some great jazz is played by five tremendous musicians in accord.
A good one!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 30 April 2014
I have had this album a couple of years and haven't played it that frequently because I find it slightly disappointing. I bought it because of the fine reviews here on amazon and elsewhere (e.g. The 5 star review by Allmusic on its original release in 1958).

Certainly four of the five musicians are, or to be, illustrious. The leader, Sonny Clark, is the least well known (to me at least) probably because he is to die just a few years later. He is a fine enough pianist, but doesn't stand out above others of his age at this time (Garland, Silver, Tyner, Kelly let alone The likes of Monk). Art Farmer plays impeccably, but the same year he records the marvellous album "What Is There To Say?" With Mulligan, and McLean, who has already worked with Mingus, produces his album "New Soil" which is superior to this. One doesn't need to comment on the ubiquitous Mr Chambers and Philly Joe, both of whom were with Garland and Davis at this time.

So with the benefit of hindsight and time I don't think that this album has lived up to the promise expected by the early reviewers.

So you pay your money and make your choice. It isn't a bum record; it just doesn't compare with many others of the same vintage.
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on 4 April 2010
This is a must-having album. Everything is perfect in it, from the beautiful and stylish cover to the incredible six tracks of this unforgettable masterpiece.
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on 3 August 2014
This album is a masterclass in how to play soul jazz . One of the greatest rhythm sections you will ever hear is present with Paul Chambers on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums . Art Farmer plays brooding trumpet and Jackie McLean blows the blues away with his incredible alto sax . Sonny Clark plays piano with every note drenched in the blues . The title track is a wonderful blues stroll to which you can picture the jazz club nerds snapping their fingers like idiots picking up motor skills . But the album is full of surprises - on Lover , Clark will knock you off your chair by unexpectedly taking his solo in waltz time . This is in my mental juke box as one of the twenty greatest jazz albums . Jazz virgins will find much to like .
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on 30 April 2001
I bought this album based on the cool NYC feel cover and an attempt as a jazz newcomer to listen to something that wasn't just Miles or Coltrane. This cd is very accessible with some great tunes. It's all quite light and breezy, perfect for Saturday mornings and summer days.The tunes seem to be variations on a theme which is great as it's a cool theme. If you are getting into jazz then this is a winner.I found out that you can judge some books(CDs) by their covers after all.
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on 29 March 2016
This Audio Wave XRCD is quite hard to get now but is quite simply the best Audiophile presentation of this Album on CD - A very nice release highly recommended
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