In the early ’90s, John Clark ranked as possibly the most fluent jazz French horn soloist since the great Julius Watkins in the 1950s. On this spirited set, Clark often solos with the fluency and sound of a valve trombonist. His band consists of the rockish guitar playing of Jerome Harris, electric bassist Anthony Jackson, and drummer Kenwood Dennard, with the addition of tenor saxophonist Alex Foster, trumpeter Lew Soloff, and bass trombonist Dave Taylor on some numbers. Clark wrote or co-composed all of the songs on the date other than “Mustang Sally” and Herbie Hancock‘s “Dolphin Dance” (which receives a memorable rendition). Clark‘s playing seems so effortless throughout the CD that it makes one wonder why there are not more French horn soloists in jazz. Recommended.
“Face it: when most of us think of jazz instruments, we think of the saxophone, trumpet, bass, drums, guitar, flute, trombone, or maybe even the clarinet–but the French horn??! John Clark makes a convincing case for that twisted instrument in this surprisingly funky recording. Clark made a few recordings a decade previously on the ECM label, but my memory of those ethereal sounds did not prepare me for the sheer power and exuberance of Il Suono. And would you believe that the first cut on the album is nothing other than “Mustang Sally?!” Not your typical French horn CD, eh? Check it out!”