Sonny Criss

William “Sonny” Criss was an American jazz musician. He lived from 23 October 1927 to 19 November 1977. He was an alto saxophonist who rose to prominence in the jazz era’s bebop. He was also one of many musicians who were influenced by Charlie Parker. William Criss was a Memphis native who moved to Los Angeles when he was 15. After graduating from high school, he played in several bands, including Howard McGhee’s with Charlie Parker. Criss was able to create his own concise and bluesy style by this time. His ability to play the guitar continued to improve, even though his style was not much changed. He continued to play in various bands and recorded with Johnny Otis and Billy Eckstine. His first big break was in 1947 when he recorded a series of jam sessions with Norman Granz, a jazz impresario. He signed to Imperial Records in New York in 1956 and recorded several “underground” gems, including Jazz U.S.A. and Go Man! Sonny Criss plays Cole Porter with pianist Sonny Clark. The masters’ original owners Capitol reissued them on Blue Note in October 2000 as a 2-CD set. Criss also recorded At the Crossroads with Wynton Kelly, Kind of Blue pianist. He was signed by Prestige in 1965 and continued to record highly-acclaimed albums that were rooted primarily in hard bop traditions. His inventive use of the alto sax was evident on these records, which contributed to his national recognition. Criss was marketed as a survivor on some albums, but Sonny’s Dream featured charts by Horace Tapscott. Muse and Impulse later recorded sessions. Criss was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 1977 and he never played again. Criss took his own life in 1977 after developing stomach cancer. From Wikipedia

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