Sonny Criss

Genres: Jazz
Tags: jazz saxophone hard bop bebop Powered by AudioScrobbler
Decades: 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
Links: allmusic discogs VIAF wikidata wikipedia


William Criss, 23 October 1923, Memphis, Tennessee, USA, d. 19 November 1977, Los Angeles, California, USA. Criss first came to prominence in Los Angeles in the mid-late 40s, playing with Howard McGhee, Billy Eckstine, Gerald Wilson and Jazz At The Philharmonic. One of the first alto saxophonists to absorb the lessons of Charlie Parker, Criss developed into a fluent, intense bebopper whom Ornette Coleman later described as ‘the fastest man alive’. In the mid-50s he worked with Buddy Rich’s quintet and also led his own groups, including line-ups with Sonny Clark and Wynton Kelly. In 1961 he settled in Paris for a number of years, then returned to Los Angeles and recorded a series of mostly excellent albums for Prestige (1966-69). Perhaps most outstanding was the big band Sonny’s Dream (Birth Of The New Cool), which featured the compositions and arrangements of Criss’ west coast colleague Horace Tapscott.

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