Sonny Clark Sunday Profile

Sunday, July 7, 2024 - 2:00pm to 7:00pm

Tune in this Sunday, July 7th, from 2-7 PM EST as host Maki Nientao explores the life and music of pianist Sonny Clark, featuring an interview with author Sam Stephenson. One of the great jazz pianists to emerge from the Pittsburgh area (including Mary Lou Williams, Earl Hines, Billy Strayhorn, Ahmad Jamal, and Erroll Garner), Clark was a skilled accompanist as well as a swinging and soulful soloist whose music was profound through its clarity and straightforwardness. Clark was known as Blue Note’s “house pianist,” recording many classic albums between 1957 and 1963 with some of the great jazz musicians of his time (including John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Lee Morgan, Grant Green, and others). He died of a heroin overdose in early 1963, at age 31.Sam Stephenson is the author of Gene Smith’s Sink, a biography of photographer W. Eugene Smith, whose loft in Lower Manhattan was a frequent hang-out spot for jazz musicians and other artists during the 1950s and 60s. The book is the result of years spent exploring the countless hours of recorded tapes and thousands of photographs in Smith’s archives. Stephenson’s book includes a chapter on Sonny Clark (who frequently spent time at Smith’s loft), which is based in part on interviews the author conducted with Clark’s family, friends, and fellow musicians.Tune in for this special Sonny Clark profile at 89.9 FM NY & WKCR HD, or stream it online at