A jam session with Clarence “C” Sharpe

clarence_c_sharpe_blueClarence “C” Sharpe. Photo by Otto Flückiger


Ever since I uploaded this concert featuring legendary alto saxophonist Clarence C. Sharpe, people have been sending me more tapes featuring Sharpe that were recorded at different jam sessions in N.Y.C. at various dates in the 1980s. One of these can be found here.

Now already some time ago, Kim Mizuno from New York was so nice as to send me quite a lot of stuff featuring C Sharpe. Thank you very much, Kim!

But only recently I found the time to check out what really is there. I still have quite a lot of editing to do before it all can appear here. But for starters here, from Kim’s tapes, is C Sharpe at a jam session organized by percussionist Clifford Barbaro at the Jazz Cultural Theater on September 12, 1985. You’ll hear a 23 minute version of “What Is This Thing Called Love”. After that the musicians are identified: Craig Haynes (dr) and Mike Tillmon (sp?). I am not sure who the (unmentioned) pianist is, maybe Barry Harris?.

After that you get announcements for next week’s program, some hassle between the announcer and an audience member, some musician’s noise and finally a little bit of “Night and Day” before it’s cut off.

Here is what Kim Mizuno, who himself plays alto sax and bass clarinet, wrote when he send me this:

“As I recall that time period at Jazz Cultural Theater, there were many wonderful musicians hanging around. I can remember the faces of Bill
Hardman, Tommy Turrentine, Clifford Jordan, Tommy Flanagan, Walter Bishop Jr, Junior Cook, Art Blakey, etc. beside C. Sharpe. I remember C. Sharpe as very quiet and rather humble person. He showed up at many jam sessions and always learning from other musicians. The last time I saw him was, I believe, at a jam session at La Famile in Harlem. He was with Tommy Turrentine.  I recognize him as one of the most significant alto players with unique voice after Charlie Parker among Jackie McLean, Ernie Henry and other great ones. ”

Thanks again, Kim!


8 Responses to “A jam session with Clarence “C” Sharpe”

  1. Joel Fass Says:

    Thank you again…

  2. Joel Fass Says:

    I was a young musician hanging around the JCT in the mid-’80s. I got to play with many of the musicians mentioned above. They treated me with kindness and encouraged my youthful efforts. It was better that going to school, a rite of passage for a young jazz musician to bond with the elders. I also was in the kid house rhythm section for the jam sessions. Some of the other members were Rodney Kendrick, piano, Kim Clarke, bass, and Craig Haynes, drums. This was all due to the efforts of Barry Harris, who fought tooth and nail to make the JCT a place of pedagogy and one where musicians not as welcome in the ‘big circuit’ could play for pay and get the respect they deserved. Barry would go to Europe to play, then come back and virtually empty his pockets paying these guys, who were all his friends. I met and performed with Chris Anderson, Vernell Fournier, Clifford Jordan and others there, an invaluable experience. Also Jaki Byard’s Apollo Stompers performed there once a month, and I was in that band from 1984-5.

    Barry created a community, and the JCT lasted from 1982-87. To quote the Henry Hill character in Goodfellas ‘it was there I met the world’. As for Clarence ‘C. Sharpe, see the story I posted today in the comments section of 105 minutes with C. Sharpe…

    • Thanks for your memories, Joel. I will upload some more from the JCT some time.

      • Joel Fass Says:

        I wanted to make a film about the JCT, and maybe include a reunion concert. I know nothing about film making, and Barry said it was too long ago, better to have it as a memory. So I dropped the idea. I was lucky to be there in the ’80s…

      • Joel, Would you know if it’s Barry announcing or playing here?

  3. fasstrack Says:

    i don’t have access to a computer right now, only a cellphone so i can’t listen. i will try to listen soon and get back to you then. thanks, joel…

  4. Thanks for posting this.

    That’s Clifford Barbaro announcing, and i’m pretty sure he’s the one playing drums as well..

    That’s not Barry on the piano

  5. Two rare A. R. Penck LPs featuring C. Sharpe are available at Inconstant Sol:



    Please post some more C. Sharpe whenever you’ll have the chance, the shares are much appreciated and important!

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