Sonny Clark: My Conception

Sonny Clark’s gifts as a pianist and composer are very much in evidence on My Conception, a ’59 round-up of the usual suspects: Byrd, Hank Mobley, Paul Chambers and Blakey. Even for these artists, the melding of bright lyricism and determined propulsion on the uptempo tunes, and their cogency on the title tune, a sigh of a ballad, are exceptional. The gritty “Minor Meeting” receives two readings, the second by a ’57 quintet with Clifford Jordan, Kenny Burrell, Chambers and Pete LaRoca, who contributes three tracks to fill out the disc. Clark’s ability as an accompanist to prod soloists to the next level is particularly noticeable on “Little Sonny,” as he repeatedly jolts Jordan into hard-hitting statements. Toshiba Records originally issued these three bonus tracks on Blue Note LNJ 70093 in 1980.