Leapin And Lopin
Format: LP, Vinyl
Recorded on 13th November 1961, ‘Leapin And Lopin’ was to be pianist Sonny Clark’s swansong (as leader) for Blue Note. It features a quintet on five tracks with trumpeter Tommy Turrentine and tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse in the horn section, whilst Billy Higgins (drums) and Butch Warren (bass) underpin the rhythm section. Exactly fourteen months later Clark was to pass away at the age of 31 from a heart attack, but allegedly due to a heroin overdose. ‘Leapin And Lopin’ is a fitting epitaph as it is an extraordinary Hard Bop set. Clark composed three tunes, Warren and Turrentine one a piece plus there is one standard. The album kicks off in brisk Hard Bop style, his own ‘Somethin Special’ lives up to its title. On the Van Heusen/ Delange ballad, the sole horn player sees the sax chair taken by Ike Quebec, who was to pass away three days after Clark. It is an exquisite ballad, whose melancholy melody is played with such intensity by Quebec. ‘Melody For C’ is another superb Hard Bop track, whose two- part horn harmony is extremely catchy. Turrentine is especially expressive, the warm tone of his trumpet being a delight. Butch Warren’s ‘Eric Walks’ sustains the upbeat feel. Clark’s ‘Voodoo’ has clipped rhythm that encapsulates the album’s title in its structure. Tommy Turrentine’s ‘Midnight Mambo’ is a fitting climax to one of the best albums from the label’s early 60’s back catalogue.