Gary Moran on Sonny Clark and Lin Halliday

Two weeks ago at the JLP event in Winston-Salem pianist Gary Moran appeared in the Ron Free Trio.  Today I got a note from Gary with interesting comments I thought should be shared, with his permission – SS:

I read the piece you did on Sonny Clark in the Paris Review.  Very interesting.  Sonny Clark has been one of my favorite pianists for a long time.  He was probably the first pianist I really studied.  I did about 20 transcriptions of his solos early in my career.  As you can imagine, that had a huge influence on my playing.  I’m sure some of his licks still come out frequently in my own solos.  Many years ago while I was in Japan I did a tribute concert of all Sonny Clark compositions.  I arranged them for 3 horns and rhythm section.  I was struck by how popular Clark was in Japan while he was relatively unknown in the US. (at least to the general listening public) Cool Struttin’ is an iconic album Japan.  Even the cover photo of the high-heeled feet seemed to be everywhere.

I lived in Chicago for a while in the mid ’80′s and knew Lin Halliday.  I remember him telling me a story about he and Clark getting busted together for heroin possession.  According to Lin, Sonny got a lawyer and got off while Lin spent time in prison, “busting rocks” as he put it.
-Gary Moran

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