Because of his extraordinary ability as a teenager, Sonny Criss was accepted into a circle of Los Angeles musicians that included Dexter Gordon, Teddy Edwards, Big Jay McNeely, Wardell Gray, and Charles Mingus. At 20, he was touring in Jazz At The Philharmonic with Howard McGhee and his idol, Charlie Parker. In a later J.A.T.P. tour, he teamed with Coleman Hawkins and Fats Navarro. In these 1951 J.A.T.P. recordings, not discovered until 1987, Criss made it plain that he deserved to be in fast company. In an all-star group sparked by Kenny Clarke, the dean of bebop drummers, Criss is stunning in his use of Parker's musical language to create his own astringent style. His remarkable solo on "Perdido" is a summary of his musical persona and of the spirit of the bop era. Career frustrations dogged Criss most of his life, but they dissolved when he was playing his alto saxophone.
with Bennie Green, Joe Newman, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Bobby Tucker, Tommy Potter, Kenny Clarke