Last night my wife Laurie and I were catching up on HBO’s series Treme and we watched Episode 13 which was broadcast on May 8. I was stunned by a fleeting mention of Sonny Clark. The scene was Delmond Lambreaux (actor Rob Brown) and his band at a diner in New York talking about their gig that night at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. I had to rewind the scene several times to make sure. Here’s how it went down:
Musician wearing hat (back center in photo above): What about the encore?
Delmond: Let’s do the Sonny Clark thing.
Pianist Jonathan Batiste (front left above): News for Lulu?
About five seconds total. My guess is that it’s the first time Sonny Clark’s name has been mentioned in prime time mainstream television history.
Afterward, I got in my car to drive to Chapel Hill and I cranked John Zorn’s version of News for Lulu from this excellent 1989 recording with Bill Frisell and George Lewis.
You can read my two pieces on Sonny Clark in Paris Review HERE and HERE. I’ve recently been commissioned by Tin House to write 3000 words of new material on Clark for their Beauty issue to be published next fall. I’ve located a couple more of Clark’s schoolmates from the Pittsburgh area so I’m excited to keep this eventual book moving.